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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 1, 2018, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
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. CDT on Monday, April 30, 2018. 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 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.


Consumer Reports

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


1.     EL18-004    In the Matter of the Petition of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of a Proxy Pricing Proposal to Adjust Certain Fuel Clause Rider Power Purchase Costs (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

On January 29, 2018, the Commission received a filing from Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Xcel) for approval of a proxy pricing proposal to adjust certain fuel clause rider power purchase costs. Xcel proposes a proxy pricing solution to address the costs associated with a limited number of existing wind and solar projects that currently flow through the South Dakota fuel clause. Xcel states its recommended proposal provides customers with a reasonable degree of certainty regarding certain costs currently recovered through the fuel clause, reflects a balance between ratepayers and Xcel, and maintains the basic tenets of the integrated system and associated benefits. Xcel requests approval of the proxy pricing proposal beginning retroactively on December 1, 2016, which, consistent with the Settlement Stipulation in Docket EL16-037, is the date of the initial suspension of Xcel’s fuel clause adjustment.

     TODAY, shall the Commission give the executive director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts?


1.     GW17-002      In the Matter of the Grain Buyer Bond of H & I Grain of Hetland, Inc. (Grain Warehouse Manager: James Mehlhaff; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

The Commission revoked H & I Grain of Hetland, Inc.’s (Buyer) license on July 24, 2017, in Docket GW17-001. Upon the revocation, Commission staff sent claim forms to all persons that staff determined to have sold grain to Buyer. Included with each claim form was a description of staff’s finding of what was owed to each seller. Upon the expiration of the statutory time for submitting claims to the Commission, staff drafted a recommendation for distribution of the $400,000 grain bond, along with a memorandum supporting staff’s recommendation. Staff filed its recommendation on March 8, 2018. On April 12, 2018, the Commission issued an Order for Distribution of Bond Proceeds. On April 13, 2018, the Commission received from several sellers a Petition to Appoint South Dakota Public Utilities Commission as Receiver. The matter was taken up at the April 20, 2018, Commission meeting and deferred for additional information.

     TODAY, shall the Commission grant the petition to take receivership? OR, how shall the Commission proceed?


1.     TC18-010     In the Matter of the Filing by Ionex Communications North, LLC dba Birch Communications for Approval of its Switched Access Services Tariff No. 7 (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

On March 9, 2018, the Commission received a letter from Ionex Communications North, Inc. dba Birch Communications requesting approval of its Switched Access Services Tariff No. 7 to reflect the change of its company name to Ionex Communications North, LLC dba Birch Communications (Birch). This Switched Access Services Tariff No. 7 issued by Birch cancels and replaces in its entirety Switched Access Services Tariff No. 6. Birch requests an effective date of March 12, 2018. On April 17, 2018, Birch filed revisions to the tariff addressing concerns from Commission staff.

     TODAY, shall the Commission approve Ionex Communications North, LLC’s Switched Access Services Tariff No. 7?

Items for Commission Discussion

EL17-024     In the Matter of the Commission Approval of Stray Voltage Training Programs (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Commission Staff is currently aware of only one stray voltage training program that is offered periodically (training held by the University of Wisconsin – Madison). No parties to the original stray voltage rulemaking docket have informed staff of training programs. Staff would like guidance from the Commission as to how to proceed with docket EL17-024.


  1. An evidentiary hearing in Docket EL17-055 – In the Matter of the Application by Crocker Wind Farm, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility and a 345 kV Transmission Line in Clark County, South Dakota, for Crocker Wind Farm is scheduled for May 9-11, 2018, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CDT on Wednesday, May 9, in the Floyd Matthew Training Center in the Foss Building, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, S.D.

  2. The next regular commission meeting will be Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. CDT in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, S.D.

  3. Commission meetings are scheduled for May 29 and June 12, 2018.

/s/Cindy Kemnitz           .
Cindy Kemnitz
Finance Manager
PUC Email
April 25, 2018