South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
April 21, 2009, at 9:30 A.M.
Room 412, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota
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AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING
- Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings held on February 24, 2009, and March 10, 2009. (Staff: Demaris Axthelm)
- Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
1. EL07-015 In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of its Proposed Energy Efficiency Plan for 2008. (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds/Dave Jacobson/Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On April 18, 2007, MidAmerican Energy filed an application for Commission consideration of its Efficiency Plan. The Plan contains programs designed for MidAmerican's gas and electric customers in South Dakota, phased in over a three-year period. For each program, MidAmerican has included design, implementation, costs, projected energy savings, and cost-effectiveness data. The Plan also includes a phase-in of particular programs over a three-year period commencing in January 2008, annual reporting to the Commission and a cost recovery mechanism. On February 25, 2009, MidAmerican submitted a Revised Energy Efficiency Plan. Subsequent to the Commission approving this filing on March 24, 2009, MidAmerican discovered and filed additional tariff changes regarding the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Plan.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Additional Tariff Changes?
2. EL08-031 In the Matter of the Application by Buffalo Ridge II LLC a Subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., for an Energy Conversion Facility Permit for the Construction of the Buffalo Ridge II Wind Farm and Associated Collection Substation and Electric Interconnection System. (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds/Stacy Splittstoesser/Tim Binder, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
On October 31, 2008, Buffalo Ridge II LLC a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., (Buffalo Ridge) submitted an application for an Energy Conversion Facility Permit for the Construction of the Buffalo Ridge II Wind Farm and Associated Collection Substation and Electric Interconnection System. The applicant proposes to construct and operate a wind farm on up to 77 acres dispersed throughout portions of up to 77 sections of land in Brookings and Deuel County as well as a 13-mile long 115 kilovolt overhead transmission line. The proposed wind farm could have a name plate capacity of up to 306 megawatts. Due to scheduling and notice complications, at the Commission's meeting on November, 25, 2008, Buffalo Ridge and Staff requested an extension of the public hearing time frame outlined in SDCL 49-41B-16 to hold the public hearing as is required according to SDCL 49-41B-15 on January 5, 2008 and to extend the time for intervention. The Commission granted the extension request at its November 25, 2008, meeting, setting the hearing date for January 5, 2008 and the intervention deadline on January 16, 2008. The Deuel County Commission filed an Application for Party Status on December 3, 2008. The South Dakota Rural Electric Association (SDREA) filed a Petition for Intervention on December 24, 2008. Sioux Valley Energy and H-D Electric Cooperative filed Petitions for Intervention on December 29, 2008. The Brookings County Commission filed an Application for Party Status on January 13, 2009. On January 15, 2009, Ralph Terrell Spence and Catherine D. Carter filed Applications for Party Status. Buffalo Ridge filed a Motion for Entry of Protective Order on January 16, 2009. Intervention was granted to all parties and the Motion for Entry of Protective Order was granted at the January 27, 2009, Commission meeting. Staff indicated that it, along with other parties, may file Settlement and Stipulation Agreements for Commission approval. A public hearing in this matter has been noticed for April 15, 2009.
TODAY, what is the Commission's Decision in this Matter?
By Order dated July 20, 1989, in Docket F-3661, the Commission required certain information from each regulated utility and telephone company regarding the cost of being regulated by the Commission. On April 3, 2009, Staff filed a Petition to Terminate this reporting requirement stating its belief that this information no longer needs to be collected.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant the Petition to Terminate the Ongoing Information Requirement in Docket F-3661?
1. NG09-001 In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for Approval of its Natural Gas Conservation Programs and Conservation Tracking Adjustment. (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds/Dave Jacobson/Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On March 2, 2009, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (Montana-Dakota), a Division of MDU Resources Group, Inc., filed an application for Commission approval to remove the experimental qualifier associated with its Gas Conservation Program. The Company is proposing to continue the application of Rate 90 and expand its natural gas portfolio to include four additional gas conservation programs and remove the experimental nature of the current tariff through the implementation of a biennial review of the Company's portfolio of programs to be filed by June 1 of every other year. In a supplemental filing dated April 1, 2009, MDU requested approval of an updated Conservation Tracking Adjustment effective May 1, 2009, and the extension of previously authorized Conservation Programs set to expire on April 30, 2009, to allow additional time for Commission Staff review.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Proposed Tariff Sheets and Extend the Currently Effective Conservation Program?
On March 20, 2009, MidAmerican Energy filed an application to expand the availability of and make permanent its monthly metered transportation (MMT) service for nonresidential small volume gas customers in South Dakota. Currently MMT service is available for only schools and government customers with heat sensitive load. MidAmerican is proposing to make MMT service available to all small volume firm transport customers on a first come first served basis with a maximum conversion of 100 customers per month and a maximum of 2,500 participants. Several fee changes are being proposed based on historic cost and these fees would be subject to annual reconciliation based on actual costs and revenues.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Tariff Revisions?
1. TC07-107 In the Matter of Unauthorized Long Distance Changes and Unauthorized Telephone Charges Made by Reduced Rates Long Distance. (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds/Deb Gregg, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
On October 5, 2007, Staff filed a Motion for Order to Show Cause against Reduced Rates Long Distance based on twenty-three consumer complaints of cramming and slamming activity by Reduced Rates. Staff alleges Reduced Rates Long Distance changed consumer long distance providers and/or added fees to consumer bills through deceptive practices and without proper authorization. On October 10, 2007, Midcontinent Communications (Midcontinent) filed a Petition to Intervene. Intervention was granted to Midcontinent at the December 18, 2007, commission meeting. On December 27, 2007, a Petition to Intervene was filed by PrairieWave Black Hills, LLC and PrairieWave Telecommunications, Inc. (Knology). Intervention was granted to Knology at the January 15, 2008, commission meeting. On May 20, 2008, Knology filed a Petition to Withdraw from the docket. The Commission granted the Petition to Withdraw to Knology at its May 28, 2008, Ad Hoc Commission Meeting. The Commission approved the consent order and closed the docket at its September 9, 2008, meeting. Commission Staff received notice Reduced Rates has not settled all formal complaints as the Consent Order requires. Staff filed a Motion requesting an alternative solution in light of said information. On April 3, 2009 Staff filed a Motion to withdraw its request. On March 31, 2009, the Commission entered an Order Dismissing Complaint and Closing Docket in each of the previously unresolved complaint dockets involving Reduced Rate, finding that each of the complaints had been settled and paid.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant Staff's Request to Withdraw its Previously Filed Motion and Close the Docket?
2. TC08-105 In the Matter of the Application of Midcontinent Communications for Approval to Provide Local Exchange Service in a Rural Service Area (Staff Analyst: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On August 14, 2008, Midcontinent Communications (Midco) filed an application to amend its certificate of authority to provide local exchange service in the Crooks and Baltic exchanges of Alliance Communications (Alliance), a rural telecommunications carrier. In the Crooks and Baltic exchanges Midco will use Alliance resold services for residential telephone services. In addition to providing local exchange services for commercial and residential customers, Midco also will provide intrastate interexchange services for commercial and residential customers and interstate interexchange services for commercial and residential customers. In the Crooks and Baltic exchanges Midco will use a hybrid fiber coax (HFC) network of its cable plant to provide primary transport for residential and commercial telephone services. This application is a competitive response to the provision of video programming in the geographical area by the incumbent carrier, Alliance. Section 47 U.S.C. 251(f) (1) (C) is applicable to the application. As such, the exemption provided by 47 U.S.C. 251(f) (1) (A) does not apply to Alliance. Midco has requested interconnection pursuant to 47 U.S.C. Section 251(f)(1)(A) with Alliance, requests confidential treatment of its financial information, and requests a waiver from providing services to the entire Alliance service area to provide local exchange service in the Baltic and Crooks exchanges of Alliance. Intervention was granted to Alliance and SDTA. On October 9, 2008, Midco filed a Motion to Find Rural Exemption Waived. On October 16, 2008, Alliance filed its response to Midco's motion. On November 20, 2008, Midco filed an Amended Motion to Find Rural Exemption Waived or to Terminate Rural Exemption under 47 USC Section 251(f)(1)(B). On December 2, 2008, a Joint Response to Midco's amended motion was filed by Alliance and SDTA. On December 8, 2008, Midcontinent filed a Motion to Compel Discovery. Alliance filed a Response to the Motion to Compel Discovery on December 17, 2008. On April 8, 2009, the parties filed a Confidential Stipulation for Partial Settlement.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Confidential Stipulation for Partial Settlement? AND, shall the Commission Amend Midcontinent Communications' Certificate of Authority to Allow Midcontinent to Provide Local Exchange Service in the Rural Exchange Areas of Crooks and Baltic, South Dakota?
3. TC08-131 In the Matter of the Application of VCI Company for Approval of Relinquishment of its Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier. (Staff Analyst: Tim Binder, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On November 12, 2008, VCI Company filed a notice of intent to discontinue providing local exchange service throughout its certificated service area served by Qwest Corporation, and filed a petition requesting relinquishment of ETC designation. VCI currently has no South Dakota customers.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve of VCI Company's Relinquishment of its Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier?
4. TC09-009 In the Matter of the Filing by Midstate Telecom, Inc. for an Extension of an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates. (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On March 9, 2009, Midstate Telecom requested an extension of its exemption from filing a switched access cost study for a period of six months after the effective date of the new rules adopted by the Commission in RM05-002. Midstate further requested approval of its intrastate switched access rate of 11.5 cents per minute. On April 7, 2009, Midcontinent Communications filed a Petition for Intervention. On April 14, 2009, a Joint Motion and a Settlement Stipulation was filed.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant Late Filed Intervention to Midcontinent Communications? AND, shall the Commission Approve the Joint Motion and Settlement Stipulation? OR, how shall the Commission Proceed?
1. Establishment of the Gross Receipts Tax levy for the 2010 Fiscal Year (Deputy Executive Director: Heather Forney)
SDCL Chapter 49-1A establishes the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Gross Receipts Tax Fund. This Fund is financed by assessing a tax on the annual intrastate gross receipts received by a utility. The Fund is used by the Commission to defray regulatory expenses related to the regulation of telecommunications, electricity and natural gas. On April 1st of each year all utilities and telecommunications companies doing business in South Dakota shall file with the Commission, on forms provided by the Commission, the amount of its gross receipts derived from customers within South Dakota during the preceding calendar year pursuant to SDCL 49-1A-4. The report shall be sworn to and verified by an officer of the company. The Commission shall, by order, establish the rate and assess the tax authorized in SDCL 49-1A-3 which, together with any funds remaining from the current fiscal year and the two hundred fifty dollar minimum gross receipt tax, will fund the Commission's budget for the next fiscal year and provide a contingency reserve in an amount not to exceed the prior year's budget. In accordance with SDCL 49-1A-5, the tax is due and payable on July 15th of each year.
TODAY, shall the Commission Establish the Rate and Assess the Gross Receipts Tax as Authorized in SDCL49-1A-3?
- The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held May 5, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 413, State Capitol Building, Pierre, SD.
- Commission meetings are scheduled for May 19 and June 9, 2009.
- A hearing in docket EL08-031 will be held April 15, 2009, in the Daktronics Banquet Room A, Swiftel Center, Brookings, S.D. The hearing will begin at 1:00 p.m.
- The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission is hosting the annual South Dakota/North Dakota Pipeline Safety Seminar April 22-23, 2009, at the Radisson Hotel in Rapid City, SD.
- A public hearing in docket HP09-001 will be held at 12:00 p.m. Monday, April 27, 2009, at the Winner Community Playhouse, 7th and Leahy Blvd. Winner, SD.
- A public hearing in docket HP09-001 will be held at 7:00 p.m. Monday, April 27, 2009, at the Philip High School Fine Arts Building, 330 Scottie Avenue Philip, SD.
- A public hearing in docket HP09-001 will be held at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, 2009, at the Harding County Recreation Center 204 Hodge Street Buffalo, SD.
- A hearing in docket CT08-002 will be held May 5, 2009, Room 413, State Capitol Building, Pierre, SD. The hearing will begin at 1:30 p.m.
- A hearing in docket RM08-002 will be held May 6, 2009, Room 413, State Capitol Building, Pierre, SD. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m.
- The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission is hosting "Crisis or Renaissance? The State of Energy in America" at the Sioux Falls Convention Center May 11 – 13, 2009.
- The Commission offices will be closed Monday, May 25, 2009, in observance of Memorial Day.
/S/ Heather K. Forney
Heather K. Forney
Deputy Executive Director
April 14, 2009