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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
March 9, 2010, at 2:30 P.M. CST
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

NOTE:  If you wish to join this meeting by conference call, please contact the Commission at 605-773-3201 by 5:00 p.m. CST on Monday March 8, 2010.  Lines are limited and are given out on a first come, first served basis, subject to possible reassignment to accommodate persons who must appear in a proceeding. Ultimately, if you wish to participate in the Commission Meeting and a line is not available you may have to appear in person.  

NOTE:  To listen to the Commission Meeting live please go to the PUC's Web site and click on the LIVE link on the home page. The Commission requests that persons who will only be listening to proceedings and not actively appearing in a case listen via the web cast to free phone lines for those who have to appear.  The Commission meetings are archived on the PUC's Web site under the Commission Actions tab and then click on the LISTEN link on the page.

NOTE:  Notice is further given to persons with disabilities that this Commission meeting is being held in a physically accessible place. If you have special needs, please notify the Commission and we will make all necessary arrangements.



  1. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on November 24, 2009, December 8, 2009, January 5, 2010 and January 19, 2010. (Staff: Demaris Axthelm)

Consumer Reports

1.      Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)


1.      EL09-018        In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Authority to Increase its Electric Rates. (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle, Dave Jacobson, Terri LaBrie Baker, Jon Thurber, Tim Binder, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

         On September 30, 2009, Black Hills Power, Inc. (BHP) filed an application for approval to increase rates for electric service to customers in its South Dakota service territory. BHP states that it proposes to increase rates by approximately $32 million annually or approximately 26.6% based on BHP's test year ending June 30, 2009. The company states a typical residential electric customer using 600 kWh per month would see a net increase of $17.99 per month. The proposed rates may potentially affect approximately 64,100 customers in BHP's service territory. At its October 20, 2009, meeting, the Commission suspended the imposition of the tariff for 180 days beyond September 30, 2009, and assessed a filing fee for actual expenses not to exceed $100,000. On November 5, 2009, the Commission received a Petition to Intervene from Countertops, Inc., d/b/a Dakota Panel South Dakota, GCC Dacotah, Inc., Rushmore Forest Products, Inc., Sanford Underground Laboratory and Spearfish Forest Products, Inc. (collectively, Black Hills Industrial Intervenors). On November 19, 2009, the Commission received a Petition to Intervene from Lilias Jarding, Bobbie Handley, Carla Kock, and the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center (collectively Residential Consumers Coalition). On November 20, 2009, the Commission received a Petition to Intervene and join with Black Hills Industrial Intervenors from Rapid City Regional Hospital, Inc. (Regional Hospital). At its November 24, 2009, meeting the Commission granted intervention to all petitioning parties. On December 21, 2009, Chesapeake Regulatory Consultants, Inc. submitted a Report and Consulting Services Proposal. At its January 5, 2010, meeting the Commission authorized its Executive Director to hire and enter into contracts with consultants.  On January 12, 2010, Slater Consulting submitted a Proposal for the South Dakota PUC Staff to evaluate the 2007 Black Hills Integrated Resource Plan. On January 14, 2010, Commission Staff requested an additional $25,000 for expenses related to the review of an integrated resource plan. At its regularly scheduled meeting of January 19, 2010, the Commission considered this matter and approved the additional $25,000 filing fee assessment.  On February 4, 2010, the Commission issued its Order for Continuance of Procedural Schedule and Hearing. On March 1, 2010, BHP submitted a request for authority pursuant to SDCL 49-34A-17 to implement an interim rate increase on April 1, 2010, until the Commission makes its final determination in this matter. In lieu of implementing its proposed rates as SDCL 49-34A-17 would allow without Commission approval, BHP is requesting authorization to implement an interim rate that would reduce revenue recovery on an annualized basis from approximately $32 million to approximately $24 million and would reduce the percentage increase in rates during the interim period from 26.6% to approximately 20%.

         TODAY, shall the Commission approve Black Hills Power's request to implement a reduced interim rate increase on April 1, 2010, in lieu of the proposed rate increase in its rate filing as would otherwise occur under SDCL 49-34A-17? And shall the Commission require Black Hills Power to keep an accurate account in detail of all amounts received by reason of the increase, specifying by whom and in whose behalf the amounts are paid?

Items for Commission Discussion


  1. Commissioners will meet with representatives of Xcel Energy on March 5, 2010, at 11:30 a.m. at the Xcel Office, 500 W. Russell St., Sioux Falls, S.D., to discuss company updates.
  2. Commissioners and staff will attend the Sioux Empire Home Show held March 5-7, 2010, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, Sioux Falls, S.D., to meet with consumers, distribute information and answer questions.
  3. A hearing in Dockets TC10-005 through TC10-013 will be held March 9, 2010, beginning at 2:00 p.m. (CST), in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, S.D.
  4. The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be held March 23, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. (CDT) in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, S.D.
  5. Commissioners and staff will attend the Black Hills Home Builders Association Home Show held March 26-28, 2010, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, S.D., to meet with consumers, distribute information and answer questions.
  6. Commission meetings are scheduled for April 6 and April 20, 2010.
  7. Commissioners will attend the Renewables on Tribal Homelands Conference held April 28-30, 2010, at the Rosebud Casino Complex.

 /S/ Cindy Kemnitz                .
Cindy Kemnitz
Finance Manager
PUC Email  
March 2, 2010