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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
April 23, 2013, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 412, 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. CDT on Monday, April 22. 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.
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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
1. Approval of the Minutes the Ad Hoc Commission Meeting held on March 29, 2013 (Staff: Joy Irving)
1. Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
On January 25, 2011, the Commission received a petition from Black Hills Power, Inc. (BHP) requesting the Commission to approve its new tariff establishing an Environmental Improvement Adjustment (EIA) pursuant to legislation enacted during the 2007 Legislative Session. SDCL 49-34A-97 through 49-34A-100 authorize the Commission to approve a tariff mechanism for the automatic annual adjustment of charges for a public utility to recover the South Dakota jurisdictional portion of eligible investments in and expenses related to new environmental measures. The statute defines eligible new environmental measures as any environmental improvements required under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, or any other federal law or rule, or any state law or rule implementing a federal law or rule, or voluntary environmental measures designed to protect the environment. On April 4, 2013, the docket was reopened upon BHP's filing of a letter regarding Annual Report of South Dakota Jurisdictional Financial Condition.
TODAY, shall the Commission accept Statements A through R and Work Papers 1 through 4 submitted in Docket EL12-061 on December 17, 2012, as Black Hills Power's 2012 Annual Report of South Dakota Jurisdictional Financial Condition?
2. EL11-006 In the Matter of the Complaint by Oak Tree Energy LLC against NorthWestern Energy for refusing to enter into a Purchase Power Agreement (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On April 28, 2011, Oak Tree Energy, LLC (Oak Tree) filed a Complaint (Complaint) with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) against NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy (NWE). The dispute involves a proposed wind generation project located in Clark County, South Dakota (Project). Oak Tree alleges that the Project is a "Qualified Facility" under PURPA and that NWE has refused to enter into a power purchase agreement. Following a number of preliminary and discovery related motions and proceedings, on February 28, 2012, the Commission issued an Order for and Notice of Hearing setting the matter for hearing on March 21-22, 2012. The hearing was held as scheduled. Following post-hearing briefing and oral argument, on May 15, 2012, the Commission issued an Interim Order. In response to the parties' respective motions to reconsider, on October 11, 2012, the Commission issued an Order granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion for Partial Reconsideration and Application for Reconsideration. On October 15, 2012, the Commission issued a Procedural Order; Order for and Notice of Hearing, setting the matter for additional hearing on December 5-6, 2012. The hearing was held as scheduled. On December 26, 2012, the Commission issued a Procedural Order setting forth a schedule for post-hearing briefing, oral argument, and decision. On January 22, 2013, the Commission heard brief oral arguments from the parties and then took the matter up for decision. On February 21, 2013, the Commission issued its Final Decision and Order; Notice of Entry. On March 21, 2013, NWE filed an Application for Reconsideration of Findings and Conclusions in the Final Order Issued on February 21, 2013.
TODAY, how shall the Commission rule on NorthWestern's Application for Reconsideration?
On March 30, 2012, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail) filed for Commission approval of an Environmental Quality Cost Recovery Tariff. The purpose of filing this request is to begin the recovery of the costs of the required environmental retrofit to the Big Stone, South Dakota generating station. Otter Tail anticipates the rate impact of this request will be approximately 2 percent on average in the first year of the rider. Once the construction is complete in 2016, Otter Tail estimates the rate impact will be approximately 15 percent. Otter Tail proposes an October 1, 2012, effective date. On April 16, 2013, Otter Tail filed a letter requesting that action on the petition in docket EL12-027 be suspended until the Air Quality Control System (AQCS) project nears completion, or, if the Commission prefers, Otter Tail requests authority to withdraw its petition.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant Otter Tail's request to suspend action on the petition? OR shall the Commission grant Otter Tail's request to withdraw the petition and dismiss and close the docket? Or how shall the Commission proceed?
4. EL12-054 In the Matter of the Petition of Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of its 2013 Transmission Cost Recovery Eligibility and Rate Adjustment (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)
On September 4, 2012, the Commission received a petition from Otter Tail Power Company for approval of its annual update to its Transmission Cost Recovery Rider (TCR) rate. The proposed revised TCR rate reflects the TCR revenue requirements for the year 2013, including the tracker balance estimated for the end of the current period and costs of new transmission projects that are not currently in base rates and have not previously been approved for inclusion in the TCR rider. The Company proposes a January 1, 2013, effective date. The parties have advised that they expect to file a Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Stipulation on or before April 17, 2013.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant the Joint Motion for Approval of the Settlement Stipulation and approve the rates, terms and conditions stipulated therein?
5. EL13-004 In The Matter of the Request for a Declaratory Ruling Regarding the Electric Service Territory Boundary Between Charles Mix Electric Association, Inc. and Northwestern Corporation dba Northwestern Energy (Staff Analyst: Matt Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)
On February 14, 2013, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission received a filing from Charles Mix Electric Association, Inc. (CME) requesting a Declaratory Ruling regarding the Electric Service Territory Boundary between CME and NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy in a newly annexed area in Platte, South Dakota.
TODAY, how shall the Commission rule on the location of the electric service territory boundary shared by CME and NorthWestern Energy for the subject location?
6. EL13-007 In the Matter of the Petition of Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of Deferred Accounting for Certain Transmission-Related Costs for Big Stone II (Staff Analysts: Patrick Steffensen, David Jacobson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)
On March 28, 2013, Otter Tail Power Company filed a petition for authority to use deferred accounting until its next rate case for certain transmission-related costs incurred during its participation in the Big Stone II generation project. The Commission previously granted deferral of generation-related and transmission-related costs in Docket EL09-024 and authorized recovery of generation-related costs in Docket EL10-011. The transmission-related costs at issue in this filing have not been granted recovery in prior dockets and have remained on Otter Tail's books as active project costs.
TODAY, what is the Commission's decision regarding a proposed accounting method for the transmission-related costs incurred by Otter Tail Power Company during its participation in the Big Stone II project?
The Commission issued an Order Suspending the Licenses of Gregory Farmers Elevator Company (GFEC) on April 4, 2013. If not contested, the licenses are revoked 15 days after suspension. GFEC began accepting bids to purchase the elevator with bids to be accepted through April 19, 2013.
TODAY, shall the Commission revoke GFEC's grain buyer and warehouse licenses? AND, how shall the Commission proceed?
1. NG13-001 In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of Its 2012 Economic Development Activities and 2013 Proposed Budget (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney, Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)
On March 8, 2013, MidAmerican Energy Company (MidAmerican) filed its 2012 Economic Development Annual Report and 2013 Economic Development Plan for Commission approval. The filing included MidAmerican's report on 2012 economic development activities, actual expenses for 2012, and planned budget for 2013.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve MidAmerican's 2012 Economic Development Activities Report and 2013 Proposed Budget?
2. NG13-002 In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of Its 2013 Economic Development Proposed Budget and 2012 Economic Development Expenses (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On March 29, 2013, NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) filed its proposed 2013 economic development budget and 2012 economic development report detailing NorthWestern's actual versus budgeted expenses for Commission review and approval.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve NorthWestern's 2012 economic development report and the 2013 economic development budget?
1. TC12-117 In the Matter of the Filing by Budget PrePay, Inc. dba Budget Phone for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 3 (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On July 17, 2012, the Commission received a filing from Budget PrePay, Inc. dba Budget Phone. This filing implements the terminating switched access rate reductions of the Federal Communications Commission Report and Order in WC Docket No. 10-90, etc., FCC No. 11-161 (released November 18, 2011) (FCC Order). Budget PrePay, Inc. had no intrastate South Dakota terminating access demand for FY 2011, therefore no reductions were necessary. This filing reduces the terminating access rate(s) to the proposed July 2014 rate(s), should Budget PrePay, Inc. start to provide access services. Budget PrePay, Inc. requests an effective date for this filing of July 18, 2012. On April 4, 2013, Budget PrePay, Inc. filed to withdraw its tariff revisions.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant Budget PrePay, Inc.'s request to withdraw its filing and dismiss and close the docket?
On October 11, 2012, the Commission received a filing for approval of YMax Communications Corp. (YMax) tariff filing. This filing makes revisions to incorporate the requirements of the Federal Communications Commission Report and Order in WC Docket No. 10-90, etc., FCC No. 11-161 (released November 18, 2011) (FCC Order) regarding the treatment of Toll VoIP-PSTN traffic. Additionally, this filing revises the intrastate access rates in compliance with the FCC's ICC Reform Order to mirror the YMax's interstate access rates. YMax requests an effective date of November 11, 2012.
TODAY, shall the Commission approve the proposed tariff revisions?
3. TC13-023 In the Matter of the Filing by Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc., for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On February 28, 2013, Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (ITC) filed a Petition for Approval of an Amendment to the Tariff of ITC. The amendments to the tariffs govern ITC's operations as both an incumbent and a competitive local exchange provider. On March 25, 2013, the Local Exchange Carriers Association (LECA) filed a Petition to Intervene. On April 11, 2013, ITC filed a clean version of the CLEC tariff.
TODAY, shall the Commission grant LECA's Petition to Intervene? AND, shall the Commission grant ITC's Petition for Approval of an Amendment to the Tariff?
At its March 26, 2013, meeting, the Commission considered whether it should consider revising or waiving any of its ETC requirements, including its June 1, 2013, deadline, in light of the FCC's new annual reporting requirements. After listening to comments from the South Dakota Telecommunications Association and Commission Staff, the Commission unanimously voted to open a docket to consider whether to revise or waive any of its ETC requirements regarding certifications to the FCC. The Commission set April 16, 2013, as the deadline for written comments. The Commission further found that it would make its decision at its April 23, 2013, meeting.
TODAY, shall the Commission revise or waive any of its ETC requirements regarding certifications to the FCC?
1. Establishment of the Gross Receipts Tax levy for the 2014 Fiscal Year (Finance Manager: Cindy Kemnitz)
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 1 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 15 of each year.
TODAY, shall the Commission Establish the Rate and Assess the Gross Receipts Tax as Authorized in SDCL49-1A-3?
Items for Commission Discussion
During the Commission's consideration of Docket GE13-001 at its regular meeting on March 26, 2013, a discussion took place among Commissioners concerning whether energy efficiency and demand side management plans are in fact producing demonstrable net economic benefits for customers and whether some or all of the programs result in an unjustifiable subsidization of certain customers who take advantage of the programs at the expense of customers as a whole. Since this discussion, concern has been expressed by utilities to Commission Staff about the future of energy efficiency and demand side management programs and what utilities should be doing at this point to plan for the future of such programs. The Commission will hold a discussion with Staff, utilities, and the public about what process is appropriate at this time to address these questions and concerns and evaluate energy efficiency and demand side management programs at the overall general policy level.
- The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. CDT in Room 414 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, S.D.
- Commission meetings are scheduled for May 21 and June 4, 2013.
April 16, 2013