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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
September 23, 2008, at 1:30 P.M.
Room 468, 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. on September 22, 2008. 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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AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING
- Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
1. EL08-016 In the Matter of the Application of East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. for a Permit to Construct 9.5 miles of 115 kV transmission line in Lincoln and Turner Counties. (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle/Brian Rounds/Terri LaBrie Baker Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On June 12, 2008, East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. submitted an application for a Construction Permit to build a 9.5 mile 115 kV transmission line between the Virgil Fodness High Voltage Substation located south of Tea in Lincoln County and the Chancellor Substation located east of Chancellor in Turner County. The line is needed to serve the expansion of an ethanol plant served by East River's member system, Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc., as well as other loads which continue to grow in Turner and Lincoln Counties.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Stipulation? And, shall the Commission Approve the Construction Permit?
2. EL08-024 In the Matter of the Application of East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. for a Permit to Construct approximately 22 miles of 115 kV Transmission Line.(Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle/ Terri LaBrie Baker/Brian Rounds Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On September 2, 2008, East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (East River) submitted an application for a Construction Permit to build a 22 mile 115 kV transmission line between Western Area Power Administration's new 230,000 volt Letcher Substation located in Section 1, T104N, R60W in Davison County (near the intersection of 412th Avenue and 245th Street) and East River's new Roswell Substation located in Section 20, T106N, R57W in Miner County (near the intersection of 426th Avenue and 237th Street). The line is needed to serve a pump station for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline as well as other future loads that may develop in Central Electric's service area. East River filed a Motion to Dismiss on September 11, 2008.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant the Motion to Dismiss and Close the Docket?
Application by NorthWestern Energy to update its fuel retention percentage for natural gas transportation service. NorthWestern Energy's tariff provides that the fuel retention percentage be adjusted annually with the updated percentage to be effective October 1 of each year
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Tariff Revisions?
1. PS08-001 In the Matter of the Filing of the Investigation of the Natural Gas Incident of February 20, 2008, on Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.'s System in Pierre, South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
On April 3, 2008, Commission Staff requested a formal docket be opened regarding an ongoing investigation into the February 20, 2008, natural gas incident in Pierre, South Dakota. A report, including Staff recommendation regarding whether all pipeline safety rules were properly observed, will be filed for Commission approval at the conclusion of Staff's investigation. The South Dakota Intra State Pipeline Company (SDIP) filed a Petition for Intervention on April 21, 2008. Montana Dakota Utilities (MDU) filed a Petition for Intervention on April 23, 2008. Intervention was granted to MDU and SDIP at the May 6, 2008, commission meeting. On September 3, 2008, Staff filed an addendum to their initial report.
TODAY, shall the Commission Adopt Staff's Recommendations and Close the Docket? OR, how shall the Commission Proceed?
1. TC06-181 In the Matter of the Petition of Venture Communications Cooperative for Suspension or Modification of Local Dialing Parity Reciprocal Compensation Obligations (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
On October 24, 2006, Venture Communications Cooperative (Venture) filed a Petition for Suspension or Modification of Local Dialing Parity and Reciprocal Compensation Obligations. In its Petition, Venture states that it seeks to modify the dialing parity and reciprocal compensation obligations in 47 U.S.C. § 251 (b) (3) and (5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Venture is requesting "modification of the dialing parity requirement such that Venture is not required to provide local dialing and it is not required to transport traffic outside of its service territory or beyond the wireline local calling area. Venture also requests a modification of the reciprocal compensation requirements such that it is not required to pay reciprocal compensation on traffic terminating to a wireless carrier within the same MTA that is handed off to an IXC in accordance with Venture's wireline local calling areas. Venture also requests a modification of the symmetrical compensation requirement and requests that the Commission base compensation for wireless carrier's on the wireless carrier's forward looking cost study. Venture also requests immediate temporary suspension of the 251(b) (3) and (5) requirements as described above pending this Commission's consideration of this request." The South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA) filed a Petition for Intervention on November 6, 2006. Rural Cellular Corporation (RCC) and Alltel Communications, Inc. (Alltel) filed Petitions for Intervention on November 13, 2006. The Commission granted intervention to SDTA at its November 14, 2006, meeting. The Commission granted intervention to RCC and Altell at their Ad Hoc Meeting on November 20, 2006. On January 12, 2007, Alltel filed a Request to Use the Office of Hearing Examiners. On January 26, 2007, Venture filed a brief in Opposition to Request of Alltel Communications, Inc. to Use the Office of Hearing Examiners. The Commission voted to allow the use of the Office of Hearing Examiners at its February 1, 2007, meeting. On August 29, 2007, the parties filed a Joint Motion for Transfer and to Set a Hearing Date. On September 7, 2007, Venture filed a Motion to Strike and a Motion in Limine. Altell filed a response on September 14, 2007. On September 8, 2008, Venture filed a Motion to Withdraw Petition for Suspension or Modification of Local Dialing Parity Reciprocal Compensation Obligations.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant the Motion to Withdraw and Close the Docket?
2. TC07-128 In the Matter of the Filing by Sancom, Inc. d/b/a Mitchell Telecom for Approval of its Intrastate Switched Access Tariff and for an Extension of an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates (Staff Analyst: Keith Senger, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
On December 29, 2004, the Commission issued an order granting Sancom, Inc. d/b/a Mitchell Telecom a three year exemption from developing company specific cost-based intrastate switched access rates in accordance with ARSD 20:10:27:11. On December 28, 2007, Sancom filed a petition asking for an extension of that exemption. Additionally, Sancom is requesting to reduce its intrastate switched access rates to $0.115 per originating and terminating MOU, a decrease of $0.0075 from its current rates. On January 16, 2008, Qwest Communications Corporation (Qwest) filed a Petition for Leave to Intervene. A Petition for Intervention was filed on January 18, 2008, by AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc. (AT&T). Intervention was granted to Qwest and AT&T at the January 29, 2008, commission meeting. On June 17, 2008, Sancom filed a Motion to Quash Subpoenas, Interrogatories, and Data Requests. On June 25, 2008, Qwest filed a Response to Sancom's Motion to Quash. On July 1, 2008, Qwest filed a Supplement to Reply and a Motion to Take Judicial Notice. A Settlement Stipulation was filed on July 21, 2008. On July 29, 2008, the Commission considered Sancom's Motion to Quash and deferred action.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Settlement Stipulation?
3. TC08-034 In the Matter of the Application of BEK Communications Cooperative for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
BEK is a member-owned cooperative that offers a wide range of communications services including local telephone, long distance, high-speed internet, and multi-channel video. As of January 1, 2008, BEK serves 5467 members and 6495 access lines over a six-county region in south-central North Dakota. BEK seeks authority to provide service to one customer in South Dakota. BEK currently provides service to this customer through an exchange BEK purchased from US West (now Qwest) on June 1, 1996. BEK has recently engaged in discussions with Valley Telecom Cooperative, Inc., a South Dakota telecommunications company, regarding adjustments to the service territory border between the two companies in an effort to align the border with the North Dakota – South Dakota border. We reached agreement regarding the border changes except with respect to two customers, each of whom is currently being served by the service provider in the other state. The distance from each customer to the network of the service provider in his state makes it expensive and impractical to align the service territory border with the state line in each case. Accordingly, BEK seeks authority to serve this customer with local exchange services.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant a Certificate of Authority to BEK Communications Cooperative with a Waiver of ARSD 20:10:32:03 1-7, 9-21 and 23? AND, shall the Commission Approve the Territory Boundary Change
4. TC08-087 In the Matter of the Application of NovaTel Ltd., Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
On May 30, 2008, NovaTel Ltd., Inc. (NovaTel) filed an application for a certificate of authority to provide interexchange telecommunication services in South Dakota. NovaTel is a reseller of telecommunications services which provides resold dedicated point-to-point private line service and dedicated internet access to business customers only.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant a Certificate of Authority to NovaTel Ltd, Inc.?
5. TC08-104 In the Matter of the Application of Enventis Telecom, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
On August 13, 2008, Enventis Telecom, Inc filed an application for a certificate of authority to provide interexchange telecommunication services in the State of South Dakota. Enventis plans to provide these services throughout the State of South Dakota.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant a Certificate of Authority to Enventis Telecom, Inc.?
6. 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 (Midcontinent) 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 Midcontinent will use Alliance resold services for residential telephone services. In addition to providing local exchange services for commercial and residential customers, Midcontinent 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 Midcontinent Communications 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. Midcontinent 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. On September 5, 2008, the South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA) filed a Petition to Intervene.
TODAY, shall the Commission Grant Intervention to the South Dakota Telecommunications Association?
On August 25, 2008, Sprint Communications Company L.P. filed for Commission approval revisions to the company's Access Service Tariff No. 3. The revisions relate to the introduction of Toll Free Database Access Service--Vertical Feature Query functionality. The company has requested an effective date of September 15, 2008, for the tariff changes.
TODAY, shall the Commission Approve the Access Service Tariff?
- The next regularly scheduled Commission meeting will be held October 7, 2008, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 423 of the State Capitol Building, Pierre, SD.
- Commission meetings are scheduled for October 21 and November 12, 2008.
- The Public Utilities Commission offices will be closed Monday, October 13, 2008, in observance of Native American Day.
- Commissioners and Staff will be attending the Regional Oversight Committee meetings in Scottsdale, AZ, October 14 – 15, 2008.
- Commissioners and Staff will be attending the NARUC fall meetings in New Orleans, LA, November 16 – 19, 2008.
- The Public Utilities Commission offices will be closed Tuesday, November 11, 2008, in observance of Veterans Day.
- The Public Utilities Commission offices will be closed Thursday, November 27, 2008, in observance of Thanksgiving.
/S/ Heather K. Forney _
Heather K. Forney
Deputy Executive Director
September 16, 2008