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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Monday, April 26, 1999; 9:30 A.M.
State Capitol Building, Room 412
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Jim Burg called the meeting to order. Present were Commissioner Pam Nelson, Commissioner Laska Schoenfelder, Deputy Executive Director Sue Cichos, Commission Advisor Greg Rislov, General Counsel Rolayne Ailts Wiest, Staff Attorneys Karen Cremer and Camron Hoseck, Telecommunications Analyst Harlan Best, Utility Analysts Bob Knadle, Dave Jacobson, Michele Farris and Keith Senger, Consumer Representative Leni Healy and Administrative Secretary Shirleen Fugitt.

Also present were Jennifer Stalley, SDREA; Colleen Sevold, U S WEST; Dave Gerdes, NSP; Rich Coit, SDITC; Stuart Wevik, Black Hills Power & Light; Bob Miller, South Dakota Electric Utility Companies; and Chet Brokaw, Associated Press.

Joining the meeting by phone were Bill Haas, McLeod USA; Mary Lohnes and Tom Simmons, Midco Communications; Abby Jensen, Level 3 Communications; Gene DeJordy, Western Wireless; Jim Johnson, Dennis Fulton and Clark Hendrickson, Northern States Power; Suzan Stewart, Glen Iverson and Jim Wilson, MidAmerican Energy; Mary Ayotte, GCC License Corp; Donna Bult, FirsTel; and Rusty Molstad, Northwestern Pubic Service.

Administration

1. Approval Of The Minutes Of The Commission Meetings Held On March 25, March 30, April 1 and April 8, 1999. (Staff: Shirleen Fugitt.)

Commissioner Schoenfelder moved to approve the minutes of the meetings held on March 25, March 30, April 1 and April 8, 1999. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Chairman Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Consumer Issues

1. Status Report On Consumer Utility Inquiries And Complaints Recently Received By The Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Leni Healy.)

Ms. Healy presented an update on consumer inquiries and complaints received since the last Commission Meeting.

2. EL98-023 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY BONNIE SLADE, FULTON, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST NORTHERN STATES POWER COMPANY CONCERNING OUTAGES. (Consumer Representative: Leni Healy. Staff
Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Ms. Cremer reported that Bonnie Slade wishes to have her complaint dismissed. Clark Hendrickson, NSP, noted that the company is making progress on the upgrading of the system and will continue to notify Ms. Slade of any planned outages.

Chairman Burg moved to close the docket. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Commissioner Schoenfelder concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Natural Gas

1. NG97-021 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER ESTABLISHING A NATURAL GAS LOCAL DISTRIBUTION UTILITY, AND TO ESTABLISH INITIAL NATURAL GAS TRANSPORTATION RATES FOR NORTHERN STATES POWER COMPANY. (Staff Analyst: Bob Knadle. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Dave Gerdes and Dennis Fulton, representing Northern States Power, addressed the filing and responded to questions from the Commission as did Commission Staff Greg Rislov and Bob Knadle. Mr. Knadle pointed out that the final tariffs are attached to Applicant's Opening Brief.

Commissioner Schoenfelder moved to approve the filing and tariffs with a waiver of ARSD 20:10:13:04 and 05. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Chairman Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

2. NG98-012 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF MONTANA-DAKOTA UTILITIES CO. FOR APPROVAL OF REVISIONS TO ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, RATE 64. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Mr. Jacobson recommended approval of the revised tariff.

Chairman Burg moved to approve the revised tariff. Commissioner Schoenfelder seconded. Commissioner Nelson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Telecommunications

1. TC98-146 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY GCC LICENSE CORPORATION FOR DESIGNATION AS AN ELIGIBLE TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIER. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)

Commissioner Nelson moved to deny GCC's application for designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) throughout the state of South Dakota because the company has failed to show it is currently providing the services necessary to obtain ETC status. Chairman Burg seconded and Commissioner Schoenfelder concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

2. TC98-192 IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FILED BY GREG AND MARILYN BOLT, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGAINST MCLEOD USA REGARDING DELAYED TRANSFER OF SERVICE. (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer. Consumer Representative: Leni Healy.)

Bill Haas, McLeod USA, noted that a settlement has been reached.

Chairman Burg moved to dismiss the complaint and close the docket. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Commissioner Schoenfelder concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

3. TC98-197 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF INTERNET TELEPHONE COMPANY FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Ms. Cremer requested deferral. Action was deferred.

4. TC98-209 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS COOPERATIVE NETWORK, INC. FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)

Mr. Hoseck recommended approval with restrictions on prepaid calling cards, deposits and advance payments.

Commissioner Nelson moved to grant a Certificate of Authority with restrictions on prepaid calling cards, deposits and advance payments. Commissioner Schoenfelder seconded and Chairman Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

5. TC98-214 IN THE MATER OF THE FILING BY U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. FOR APPROVAL OF REVISIONS TO ITS EXCHANGE AND NETWORK SERVICES TARIFF. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Ms. Sevold explained that U S WEST wishes to assess a $.17 per month surcharge on all Sioux Falls customer access lines for the elimination of toll services from Sioux Falls to Dell Rapids and Colton, South Dakota.

Commissioner Nelson moved to deny U S WEST's application to assess a $.17 per month surcharge on all Sioux Falls customer access lines for the elimination of toll services from Sioux Falls to Dell Rapids and Colton, South Dakota. Commissioner Nelson stated that she believes the recovery must be denied because U S WEST is seeking to recover alleged lost toll revenues, an emerging competitive service, through a surcharge that it has classified as a noncompetitive service. Secondly Commissioner Nelson believes that U S WEST's request is barred by res judicata, meaning the claim is precluded to prevent relitigation of an issue actually litigated or which could have been properly raised and determined in a prior action. Chairman Burg seconded the motion to deny and Commissioner Schoenfelder concurred. Motion passed 3-0.


6. TC99-014 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION TO TRANSFER THE CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY FROM SPEER VIRTUAL MEDIA, LTD. TO SPEER COMMUNICATIONS VIRTUAL MEDIA, INC. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)

Mr. Best noted that the company has requested the withdrawal of this application.

Chairman Burg moved to allow the withdrawal and close the docket. Commissioner Schoenfelder seconded and Commissioner Nelson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

7. TC99-015 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS, LLC FOR A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES, INCLUDING LOCAL EXCHANGE SERVICE, IN SOUTH DAKOTA. (Staff Analyst: Keith Senger. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Mr. Senger explained the application and noted that the company has requested a waiver of ARSD 20:10:32:03 (11) and 20:10:24:02 (08); has agreed to submit a $25,000 bond before the Certificate of Authority is issued; and has agreed to restrictions on prepaid calling cards, deposits and advanced payments. Mr. Senger recommended approval upon receipt of the bond, with the requested waivers, rural safeguards, and the restrictions noted above.

Chairman Burg moved to approve the application with the conditions and restrictions noted above. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Commissioner Schoenfelder concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

8. TC99-023 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. FOR APPROVAL OF AN INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENT BETWEEN MIDCO COMMUNICATIONS, INC. D.B.A MIDCONTINENT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND U S WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)

Staff filed a written recommendation and restated its recommendation of approval at the meeting.

Chairman Burg moved to approve the filing. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Commissioner Schoenfelder concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

9. TC99-026 IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION TO TRANSFER THE CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY FROM BLACK HILLS FIBERCOM, INC. TO BLACK HILLS FIBERCOM, L.L.C. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Mr. Best explained the application and recommended approval.

Commissioner Schoenfelder moved to approve the application. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Chairman Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

10. TC99-029 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY GOLDEN WEST COMMUNICATIONS, INC. FOR APPROVAL OF BOUNDARY CHANGE. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Mr. Best explained the boundary change and recommended approval.

Commissioner Schoenfelder moved to approve the filing. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Chairman Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Miscellaneous

1. MS98-001 IN THE MATTER OF THE REQUEST FOR A SURVEY ON UTILITIES' YEAR 2000 READINESS. (Staff Analyst: Michele Farris. Staff Engineer: Martin Bettmann.)

Ms. Farris presented an update on responses received after the second checkpoint card mailing.

Transportation/Warehouse

1. IN THE MATTER OF APPROVING VITALCHEK TO PROVIDE THE TRANSPORTATION/WAREHOUSE DIVISION WITH A MEANS TO ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS AS PAYMENT IN THE PROCESSING OF TRUCKING AND GRAIN DEALER/GRAIN WAREHOUSE APPLICATIONS. (Staff: Jeff Lorensen. Staff Attorney: Camron Hoseck.)

The Transportation Division proposed that the Commission enter into a contract with VitalChek for purposes of accepting credit cards as payment from truckers who need authority to travel in South Dakota. VitalChek provides a similar service to the South Dakota Highway Patrol. Staff recommended that the contract be entered into.

Chairman Burg moved to approve the contract. Commissioner Nelson seconded. Commissioner Schoenfelder dissented. Motion passed 2-1.

ADDENDUM

Gas and Electric

1. GE99-002 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY NORTHWESTERN PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY FOR APPROVAL TO ADD LANGUAGE TO ITS CUSTOMERS' BILLS. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Mr. Jacobson explained the filing and recommended approval.

Chairman Burg moved to approve the filing. Commissioner Nelson seconded and Commissioner Schoenfelder concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Natural Gas

1. NG98-014 IN THE MATTER OF THE FILING BY MIDAMERICAN ENERGY COMPANY FOR APPROVAL OF ITS 1998 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REPORT AND ITS 1999 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN. (Staff Analyst: Michele Farris. Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Glen Iverson, MidAmerican Energy, explained the filing. Ms. Farris presented further explanation and recommended approval.

Chairman Burg moved to approve the filing. Commissioner Schoenfelder seconded and Commissioner Nelson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

The meeting was adjourned.

________________________________
Shirleen Fugitt
Administrative Secretary