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PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
Friday, November 7, 1997; 1:30 P.M.
Room 464, State Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota
MINUTES OF THE AD HOC COMMISSION MEETING
Chairman Burg called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. Present were Vice-Chairman Pam Nelson, Commissioner Laska Schoenfelder, Executive Director Bill Bullard, General Counsel Rolayne Ailts Wiest, Staff Attorney Karen Cremer, Telecommunications Analyst Harlan Best, Utility Analyst Bob Knadle, Business Manager Sue Cichos, and Administrative Secretary Terry Norum.
Also present was Al Lundy, South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
Joining the meeting by phone were Jon Lehner and Colleen Sevold, USWC, Randall Macy, Stateline Telecommunications, Robert Marmett, DTG, Michelle Engel, AT&T, and Kathy Rottenbucher, Complainant.
1. TC97-107 - IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY KATHY ROTTENBUCHER, NEWELL, SD, AGAINST STATELINE TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC. REGARDING UNPUBLISHED ADDRESS. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)
Commissioner Schoenfelder moved that the Commission find that Stateline's mistake in providing Ms. Rottenbucher's address to U S WEST for publication in its directory is an unreasonable act. In addition, Stateline's refusal to provide Ms. Rottenbucher with the names of the Board of Directors is an unreasonable act. On the issue of damages, Commissioner Schoenfelder moved that the Commission find that Ms. Rottenbucher has failed to prove that she suffered any actual damages as a result of Stateline's unreasonable act and, thus deny the award of any damages. Commissioner Nelson seconded. Chairman Burg dissented. Motion passed 2-1.
The first issue in the docket concerning the investigation into the Lifeline and Link Up Programs is whether the Commission should approve intrastate rate reductions to allow consumers eligible for Lifeline support to receive the additional $1.75 in federal support.
Commissioner Nelson moved that the Commission authorize intrastate rate reductions to allow eligible consumers to receive the additional $1.75 in federal support.
With respect to the second issue on whether the Commission should set up a state Lifeline Program to fund further reductions in the intrastate rate paid by the end user, Commissioner Nelson moved that the Commission not set up a state Lifeline Program to fund further reductions at this time.
On the third issue concerning modifications or elimination of the existing Lifeline program, Commissioner Nelson moved that the Commission eliminate the existing TAP program that requires U S WEST and companies that have purchased U S WEST exchanges to fund a $3.50 reduction of local rates to low income customers age 60 and over. By eliminating the TAP program and not instituting a state program to fund further reductions, the effect will be that the FCC eligibility requirements and self-certification requirements will apply to the South Dakota Lifeline program. Commissioner Nelson also moved that the South Dakota Link Up program follow the FCC rules. In addition, Commissioner Nelson moved that the Commission staff, in consultation with the companies, develop a standard form for self-certification. Commissioner Nelson further moved that the companies send these forms to each customer prior to January 1, 1998, and that the companies make the forms available to any person or entity upon request.
On the final issue of whether the Commission should file, or in the alternative, require the carrier to file information with the fund administrator, Commissioner Nelson moved that the carrier be required to file that information demonstrating that the carrier's plan meets the applicable FCC criteria and that the carrier send an informational copy to the Commission. The companies should also be required to include in their annual report to the Commission the number of subscribers who receive Lifeline and Link Up support. Chairman Burg asked that the motion be amended to include sending the form to new customers. Commissioner Nelson agreed to the amendment. Commissioner Schoenfelder seconded. Chairman Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.
The meeting was adjourned.