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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
November 22, 2011, at 9:30 A.M. CST AND 2:00 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, November 21, 2011. 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 website www.puc.sd.gov and click on the LIVE link on the home page. The Commission requests 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 website under the Commission Actions tab, Click on "Commission Meeting Archives," to access the recordings. 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.

AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING


Administration

1.   Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting held on November 8, 2011. (Staff: Joy Irving)

Consumer Reports

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

Electric

1.   EL10-015 In the Matter of the Petition of Otter Tail Power Company to Establish a Transmission Cost Recovery Tariff (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds, Dave Jacobson, Brittany Mehlhaff, Ross Pedersen, Staff Attorneys: Kara Semmler, Ryan Soye)

On November 5, 2010, the Commission received a petition from Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail) requesting approval to establish a Transmission Cost Recovery Tariff. The tariff mechanism provides for the automatic adjustment of charges to recover the jurisdictional costs of new or modified transmission facilities and federally regulated costs to increase regional transmission capacity or reliability. On November 15, 2011, the Commission Staff filed a Joint Motion, Stipulation and attachments.

     TODAY, shall the Commission grant the Joint Motion to approve the Stipulated resolution of this docket?

Natural Gas – To be heard at 2:00 p.m.

1.   NG11-003 In the Matter of the Application of NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Authority to Increase its Natural Gas Rates (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On May 20, 2011, the Commission received an application by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) for approval to increase rates for natural gas service in its South Dakota service territory by $4,123,035 annually or 7.20% based on NorthWestern's test year ending December 31, 2010. The company states the proposed increase for a residential customer would be $8.31 per month based on an average usage of 63 therms per month. The proposed rates may potentially affect approximately 43,750 customers in NorthWestern's South Dakota service territory. On June 17, 2011, the Commission issued an Order of Assessment of Filing Fee and Suspension of Imposition of Tariff, which assessed a filing fee of up to $100,000 and suspended the proposed rate increase for the maximum period of 180 days following the filing date. On September 9, 2011, the Commission received a petition from twenty-six customers requesting to suspend the proposed rate increase requested by NorthWestern and to hold a public hearing to determine if such a rate should be allowed. On September 30, 2011, the Commission issued an Order Granting Petition to Hold a Public Hearing, and issued and served a Notice of Public Hearing to be held in Scotland, SD on October 17, 2011. The hearing was held in Scotland in accordance with the notice. On November 7, 2011, NorthWestern and Staff jointly filed a Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Stipulation, the Settlement Stipulation, and supporting Exhibits.

     TODAY, shall the Commission grant the Joint Motion for Approval of the Settlement Stipulation and approve the rates, tariff sheets, terms and conditions stipulated therein? OR how shall the Commission proceed?

Telecommunications

1.   TC09-098 In the Matter of the Complaint filed by South Dakota Network, LLC against Sprint Communications Company L.P. Regarding Failure to Pay Intrastate Centralized Equal Access Charges and to Immediately Pay Undisputed Portions of SDN's Invoices (Staff Analyst: Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On October 29, 2009, South Dakota Network (SDN) submitted this complaint against Sprint Communications Company L.P. (Sprint) for 1.) failing to pay intrastate centralized equal access charges at the rates approved by the Commission, 2.) failing to immediately pay undisputed portions of SDN's invoices as required by SDN's Tariff, and 3.) payment by Sprint of SDN's costs of action, reasonable attorney's fees incurred by SDN, and for twice the amount of damages sustained by SDN, if SDN is required to recover its damages by suit or on appeal. On September 23, 2011, SDN filed an amended Motion for Partial Summary Judgment with the Commission. On October 7, 2011, Northern Valley Communications LLC (Northern Valley) filed a counter claim against Sprint. On October 17, 2011, Sprint filed, with the Commission, a Motion to Dismiss Northern Valley's counter claim. On October 27, 2011, Sprint filed a Motion to Enforce Subpoenas and Modify Procedural Schedule.

     TODAY, shall the Commission grant SDN's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment? AND, shall the Commission grant Northern Valley's Motion for Leave to File Counterclaims? AND shall the Commission grant Sprint's Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims? AND, shall the Commission grant Sprint's Motion to Enforce Subpoenas and Modify Procedural Schedule?

2.   TC10-026 In the Matter of a Complaint Filed by Sprint Communications Company, LP Against Native American Telecom, LLC Regarding Telecommunications Services (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On May 4, 2010, the Commission received a complaint from Sprint Communications Company, LP (Sprint) against Native American Telecom, LLC (NAT), in which Sprint seeks: 1) a determination that the Public Utilities Commission (Commission) has the sole authority to regulate Sprint's intrastate interexchange services and that NAT lacks authority to bill Sprint for switched access services without a Certificate of Authority and valid tariff on file with the Commission; 2) a declaration that because the Commission has the sole authority over Sprint's intrastate interexchange services, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Utility Authority is without jurisdiction over Sprint; 3) a determination that NAT must repay Sprint the amounts it inadvertently paid NAT for unauthorized and illegal switched access charges. On May 12, 2011, Sprint filed a Motion to Compel with the Commission.

     TODAY, shall the Commission grant Sprint's Motion to Compel?

3.   TC11-083 In the Matter of the Joint Application of Hills Telephone Company, Splitrock Properties, Inc., and Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc., for an Amendment to Certificate of Authority of Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On September 8, 2011, the Commission received a Joint Application from Hills Telephone Company (Hills), Splitrock Properties, Inc. (Splitrock), and Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. (Alliance), for Approval of an Amendment to Certificate of Authority of Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. The parties are seeking Commission approval for the sale by merger of the local telephone exchanges currently served by Splitrock and Hills to Alliance and an amendment to the certificate of authority held by Alliance.

     TODAY, shall the Commission grant an Amended Certificate of Authority to Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc.?

4.   TC11-071 In the Matter of the Application of New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, a subsidiary of AT&T Mobility LLC, for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in Rural Study Areas (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

On June 13, 2011, the Commission received an application by New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, a subsidiary of AT&T Mobility LLC, (AT&T Mobility) requesting approval to designate AT&T Mobility as an eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to SDCL 49-31-78 and Section 214(e) of the Federal Communications Act of 1934, as amended, for the purpose of qualifying to obtain all available federal universal service support including, but not limited to, support for rural, insular and high costs areas, and for low-income customers. On November 15, 2011, staff filed a letter describing the procedural conflict between AT&T and interveners. More specifically, AT&T desires to hold the hearing on this matter in January as previously scheduled. Alternatively, interveners wish to delay the hearing due to a pending FCC Order.

     TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?

5.   TC11-072 In the Matter of the Application of New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, a subsidiary of AT&T Mobility LLC, for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in Non-Rural Study Areas (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

On June 13, 2011, the Commission received an application by New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, a subsidiary of AT&T Mobility LLC, (AT&T Mobility) requesting approval to designate AT&T Mobility as an eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to SDCL 49-31-78 and Section 214(e) of the Federal Communications Act of 1934, as amended, for the purpose of qualifying to obtain all available federal universal service support including, but not limited to, support for non-rural, insular and high costs areas, and for low-income customers. On November 15, 2011, staff filed a letter describing the procedural conflict between AT&T and interveners. More specifically, AT&T desires to hold the hearing on this matter in January as previously scheduled. Alternatively, interveners wish to delay the hearing due to a pending FCC Order.

     TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?

6.   TC11-087 In the Matter of the Application of Native American Telecom, LLC for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On October 11, 2011, Native American Telecom, LLC (NAT) filed an application for a certificate of authority to provide local exchange and interexchange service within the study area of Midstate Communications, Inc.(Midstate) NAT states that it is a tribally-owned full service telecommunications carrier operating on the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Indian Reservation pursuant to an Order Granting Approval to Provide Telecommunications Service by the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Crow Creek Utility Authority dated October 28, 2008. NAT seeks to expand its authority to include areas within Midstate's study area off of the Crow Creek reservation. On October 13, 2011, Midstate Communications, Inc. filed a Petition to Intervene. On October 26, 2011, AT&T Communication of the Midwest, Inc.(AT&T) filed a Petition to Intervene. On October 28, 2011, Sprint Communications Company, L.P. (Sprint), Qwest Communications LLC (Qwest) dba CenturyLink, and South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA) filed Petitions to Intervene. On November 14, 2011, the Commission received NAT's reply to the Petitions to Intervene.

     TODAY, shall the Commission grant Intervention to Midstate, AT&T, Sprint, Qwest and SDTA?

Items for Commission Discussion

Announcements

1.   The PUC offices will be closed November 24-25, 2011, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

2.   Commissioners will attend the South Dakota AARP Utilities Symposium on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center, 201 Verendrye Drive, in Fort Pierre, S.D.

3.   Commissioners and staff will host a briefing for legislators on Monday, December 5, 2011, at 7 p.m. CST in Room 412 at the State Capitol Building in Pierre, S.D. The agenda is to discuss pipeline issues, telecommunications, new EPA regulations and wind energy.

4.   The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be held Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. CST in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, S.D.

5.   A hearing in docket TC11-025 will be held Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at 1 p.m. CST in Room 412 at the State Capitol Building in Pierre, S.D.

6.   Commissioners and staff will meet with representatives of NorthWestern Energy on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, at 3 p.m. CST in Room 412 at the State Capitol Building in Pierre, S.D. The agenda is to discuss the company's finance department overview, wholesale operations, South Dakota operations and customer care.

7.   Commission meetings are scheduled for December 20, 2011, and January 3, 2012.

/S/ Cindy Kemnitz
Cindy Kemnitz
Finance Manager
puc@state.sd.us
November 15, 2011