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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Tuesday, December 2, 2003 at 9:30 A.M.
Governors Inn, Kneip Room
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Bob Sahr called the meeting to order. Also present were Vice Chairman Gary Hanson; Commissioner Jim Burg; Executive Director Pamela Bonrud; Deputy Executive Director Heather Forney; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Commission Attorneys Rolayne Ailts Wiest and John Smith; Staff Attorneys Kelly Frazier and Karen Cremer; Staff Analysts Keith Senger, Steve Wegman, Harlan Best, Michele Farris, Dave Jacobson, Jim Mehlhaff, and Sue Schaefer; and Administrative Secretary Tina Douglas.

Also present were David Gerdes, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson, representing MCI WorldCom Communications Inc., Midcontinent Communications, and Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Mayer, Hofer, Wattier & Brown, representing Midstate Telcom, Golden West, and SDTA; Rita Mulkern, Tamie Aberle, and Don Ball, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; and Senator Frank Kloucek.

Joining the meeting by telephone were Colleen Sevold, Barbara Brohl, and Tim Goodwin, Qwest Corporation; Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications; Bill Heaston, PrairieWave Telecommunications, Inc.; Linn Evans, Marv Truhe, Stuart Wevik, Aaron Eisenbraun, and Fred Anderson, Black Hills Corporation and Black Hills Power and Light; Dave Bloomquist and Karen Huizenga, MidAmerican Energy Company; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Paul, Goodsell & Nelson representing Western Wireless; Bob Pomeroy, AT&T; Jeff Partridge; Meredith Moore, Cutler and Donahue, representing Splitrock Properties, Inc.; Mary Sisak, Benjamin Dickens, and Todd Boyd, Interstate Telecommunications Inc.; Joe Schuele, Martin Group; and John Reints, Complainant.

Administration

1. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on November 4, 2003. (Staff: Tina Douglas.)

Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meeting held on November 4, 2003. Commissioner Burg seconded and Chairman Sahr concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Consumer Issues

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

Mr. Mehlhaff reported that the Commission had received a total of 2345 consumer contacts during 2003. Since the last report was prepared for the November 4, 2003, Commission meeting, 211 of these contacts had been received; 73 contacts involved telecommunications services; 16 contacts involved electricity issues; 4 contacts involved natural gas issues; 6 contacts involved gas and electric services; 13 contacts involved cellular phone issues; 71 contacts involved do not call registry; and 28 contacts involved miscellaneous services not regulated by the PUC. In 2003, 1698 of the 2354 complaints registered have been resolved informally.

2. CE03-003 In the Matter of the Complaint filed by John Reints, Rapid City, South Dakota, against Black Hills Power Regarding its Flat Monthly Charge. (Staff Analyst: Jim Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Kelly Frazier)

See Transcript of ┬áDecember 2, 2003, 9:30a.m. Commission Meeting (CE03-003, CN03-003,  TC03-068)

Chairman Sahr moved to grant Black Hills Power's Motion to Dismiss. Commissioner Burg seconded and Commissioner Hanson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

No action was taken on the Complainant's Motion to Add Punitive Damages because it became moot when the Commission granted Black Hills Power's Motion to Dismiss.

2. CN03-003 In the Matter of the Complaint filed by John Reints, Rapid City, South Dakota, against Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Regarding its Flat Monthly Charge. (Staff Analyst: Jim Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Kelly Frazier)

See Transcript of ┬áDecember 2, 2003, 9:30a.m. Commission Meeting (CE03-003, CN03-003,  TC03-068)

Chairman Sahr moved to grant Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.'s Motion to Dismiss. Commissioner Burg seconded and Commissioner Hanson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Electric

1. EL03-027 In the Matter of the Filing by Xcel Energy for Approval of its 2002 Economic Development Annual Report and 2003 Economic Development Plan. (Staff Analyst: Steve Wegman, Staff Attorney: Kelly Frazier)

Mr. Jim Wilcox, Xcel Energy, stated that on October 6, 2003, Xcel Energy filed: (1) its 2002 economic development report; and (2) its 2003 economic development budget, and asked that the report and budget be approved. Mr. Wegman recommended approval of both the 2002 economic development report and 2003 economic development budget. Mr. Wegman also stated that Xcel Energy has committed 1.7 million dollars to this program.

Commissioner Hanson moved to approve Xcel's 2002 economic development report and 2003 economic development budget. Commissioner Burg seconded and Chairman Sahr concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

2. EL03-028 In the Matter of the Joint Request for an Electric Service Territory Boundary Change between e Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Black Hills Power. (Staff Analyst: Michele Farris, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Linn Evans, Black Hills Power, stated that Lots 2,3,4,5,6, and 7 located in Spruce Mountain Estates No. 2, all of which are located in Section 24 of T6N R4E Black Hills Meridian, Lawrence County, South Dakota, would be transferred from Black Hills Power (BHP) to e Electric Cooperative Inc. ( e); and Lots 1,6, and 5, located in Spruce Mountain Ranches, all of which are located in S18 T6N R5E, Black Hills Median, Meade County, South Dakota, would be transferred from e to BHP. Both e and BHP, as well as the developer supported this request.

Commissioner Burg moved to approve the boundary change between Black Hills Power and e Electric Cooperative Inc. in EL03-028. Commissioner Hanson seconded and Chairman Sahr concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

3. EL03-029 In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of Tariff Revisions. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Kelly Frazier)

Mr. Jacobson stated that tariff revisions reflected redesigning of the stub portion of both the regular bill and disconnect notice. Mr. Jacobson recommended approval of the tariff revisions.

Chairman Sahr moved to approve the tariff revisions in EL03-029. Commissioner Hanson seconded and Commissioner Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Natural Gas

1. NG03-006 In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of Tariff Revisions. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Kelly Frazier)

Mr. Jacobson stated that tariff revisions reflected redesigning of the stub portion of both the regular bill and disconnect notice. Mr. Jacobson recommended approval of the tariff revisions.

Chairman Sahr moved to approve the tariff revisions in NG03-006. Commissioner Burg seconded and Commissioner Hanson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Telecommunications

1. TC01-159 In the Matter of the Application of TDI Communications, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. (Staff Attorney: Kelly Frazier)

Mr. Frazier stated that TDI Communications, Inc. (TDI) has a Certificate of Authority to provide interexchange telecommunications services throughout South Dakota. On December 12, 2001, the Commission voted unanimously to grant TDI a Certificate of Authority subject to the condition that the company maintain a continuous $25,000 bond. On November 14, 2003, the Commission received notice from the bonding company that it was canceling TDI's bond. Mr. Frazier has made numerous contacts to the company but has not received a response as of yet regarding the cancellation of the bond which expires December 13, 2003. Mr. Frazier recommended that if a new bond is not received by December 13, 2003, that TDI Communications, Inc.'s Certificate of Authority should be amended to remove the bond requirement and to include restrictions from offering any prepaid services and from accepting customer deposits and advance payments for both local and interexchange telecommunications services effective December 13, 2003.

Commissioner Burg moved to amend TDI Communications, Inc.'s Certificate of Authority with restrictions from offering any prepaid services and from accepting customer deposits and advance payments for both local and interexchange telecommunications services with an effective date of December 13, 2003, if a new bond for TDI Communications, Inc. is not received by December 13, 2003. Commissioner Hanson seconded and Chairman Sahr concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

2. TC01-165 In the Matter of the Analysis into Qwest Corporation's Compliance with Section 271(c) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer.)

Ms. Barbara Brohl, Qwest Corporation asked that the Commission approve the NEW OP- 5(A) measurement. Ms. Wiest recommended approval.

Commissioner Burg moved to approve the modifications to the QPAP. Chairman Sahr seconded and Commissioner Hanson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Ms. Wiest asked Qwest if a docket should be opened for the six month review proceeding. Ms. Brohl stated that at this time Qwest would like to wait on opening a docket. No action was taken.

3. TC03-068 In the Matter of the Application of Midcontinent Communications for Approval to Expand its Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Service in the Service Territory of Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

See Transcript of ┬áDecember 2, 2003, 9:30a.m. Commission Meeting (CE03-003, CN03-003,  TC03-068)

Chairman Sahr moved to amend Midcontinent Communications' Certificate of Authority to authorize the company to provide local exchange services in the town of Webster and also grant a waiver of ARSD 20:10:32:15. Commissioner Hanson seconded and Commissioner Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

4. TC03-168 In the Matter of the Application of IDT America, Corp. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Michele Farris, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Farris stated that the Commission received notice this morning that IDT America, Corp's bond is being cancelled and asked that this docket be deferred until she can talk to the company about this matter. Action was deferred.

5. TC03-181 In the Matter of the Implementation of the Federal Communications Commission's Triennial Review Order Regarding Unbundling Obligations. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Wiest asked if any parties had any objections to the late interventions of PrairieWave Communications, Inc., Midstate Telecom, Inc., Northern Valley Communications, LLC, and Black Hills FiberCom. No one had any objections to the interventions.

Chairman Sahr moved to approve the intervention of PrairieWave Communications, Inc., Midstate Telecom, Inc., Northern Valley Communications, LLC, and Black Hills FiberCom in TC03-181. Commissioner Burg seconded and Commissioner Hanson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Ms. Wiest suggested the following procedural schedule:

January 20, 2004 - Simultaneous filing of direct testimony on impasse issues regarding the batch hot cut process and filing of a stipulation among parties on areas of agreement/consensus items;


February 6, 2004 - Initial round of testimony due. Qwest shall file its primary case addressing the issues of market definition, the DS0 cut-off level, and the trigger analyses and potential deployment analyses for mass-market switching. All other parties shall file testimony regarding the issues of market definition and the DS0 cut-off level. The other parties may present testimony on the trigger and potential deployment analyses at this time or wait until the second round of testimony.

February 17, 2004 - Simultaneous filing of re al testimony on impasse issues regarding the batch hot cut process;

March 19, 2004 - Second round of testimony due. If not presented in the first round, parties, other than Qwest, may present their initial testimony on the trigger and potential deployment analyses. All parties may present testimony in response to testimony filed in the initial round of testimony;

April 2, 2004 - Optional re al testimony due;

April 26 through April 30 and May 3 through May 7, 2004 - Hearing to begin at 1:00 p.m., on April 26, 2004, in the Kneip Room of the Governor's Inn, 700 W. Sioux Avenue, Pierre, South Dakota.

Ms Wiest asked if anyone had any objections to the schedule. No one objected.

Chairman Sahr moved to approve the procedural schedule in TC03-181. Commissioner Burg seconded and Commissioner Hanson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

6. TC03-185 In the Matter of the Application of WDT World Discount Telecommunications Co. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Michele Farris, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms Farris stated that WDT World Discount Telecommunications Co. (WDT) has submitted an application for a Certificate of Authority in accordance with the administrative rules of South Dakota. WDT intends to provide resold interexchange services including, 1+ and 101XXXX outbound dialing, incoming 800/888, directory assistance, data services, and travel card services throughout South Dakota. WDT have made all staff recommended changes to the tariff. WDT has agreed to restrictions from offering prepaid services and collecting deposits and advance payments. WDT submitted an income statement and balance sheet, but indicated they do not prepare a cash flow statement. Therefore, they have requested a waiver from ARSD 20:10:24:02(8), which requires them to submit current balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements. WDT's application was submitted October 15, 2003. Therefore, WDT is restricted from providing service until December 15, 2003. Ms. Farris recommended the Commission approve the request for a waiver of the financial information and also approve the Certificate of Authority for WDT World Discount Telecommunications Co. with restrictions on deposits, advance payments, and prepaid calling cards, with an effective date of December 15, 2003.

Chairman Sahr moved to grant WDT World Discount Telecommunications's Certificate of Authority with restrictions from accepting customer deposits and advance payments and offering prepaid services with an effective date of December 15, 2003, and grant a waiver from filing financial statements as required by ARSD 20:10:24:02(8). Commissioner Hanson seconded and Commissioner Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

7. TC03-186 In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of a Reciprocal Compensation Agreement between Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless and Black Hills FiberCom, L.L.C. (Staff Attorney: Kelly Frazier)

Mr. Frazier stated that the Agreement has been properly filed, has been properly executed and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions, no comments were filed, and recommended approval of the Agreement.

Commissioner Burg moved to approve the Agreement in TC03-186. Commissioner Hanson seconded and Chairman Sahr concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

8. TC03-188 In the Matter of the Application of Granite Telecommunications, LLC for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Keith Senger, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Senger stated that on October 17, 2003, Granite Telecommunications, LLC filed an application for a Certificate of Authority to provide local exchange telecommunications services in Qwest=s service territory and interexchange telecommunications services throughout South Dakota. Granite Telecommunications, LLC has agreed to restrictions from offering any prepaid services and from accepting customer deposits and advance payments. Mr. Senger recommended the Commission grant Granite Telecommunications, LLC local exchange and interexchange authority subject to rural safeguards and restrictions from offering any prepaid services and from accepting customer deposits and advance payments and with an effective date of December 17, 2003.

Chairman Sahr moved to grant Granite Telecommunications, LLC's Certificate of Authority with restrictions from accepting customer deposits and advance payments and offering prepaid services, subject to rural safeguards, with an effective date of December 17, 2003. Commissioner Hanson seconded and Commissioner Burg concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

9. TC03-189 In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of a Reciprocal Transport and Termination Agreement between Brookings Municipal Utilities d/b/a Swiftel Communications and Midcontinent Communications. (Kelly Frazier)

Mr. Frazier stated that the Agreement has been properly filed, has been properly executed and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions, no comments were filed, and recommended approval of the Agreement.

Commissioner Burg moved to approve the Agreement in TC03-189. Commissioner Hanson seconded and Chairman Sahr concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

10. TC03-191 In the Matter of the Filing by WWC Holding Co., Inc. d/b/a CellularOne for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in Other Rural Areas. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Talbot Wieczorek, Western Wireless, had an objection to the intervention of SDTA because it is redundant to the filings of the other intervenors. Mr. Wieczorek also stated that he had talked to Alliance Communications Cooperative that if Western Wireless does not go in Alliance's designated area it would voluntarily withdraw its intervention. Ms. Darla Rogers, representing SDTA, stated that SDTA should be allowed to intervene and that it was not redundant. Ms. Wiest recommended intervention to SDTA for Golden West Telephone Cooperative Inc., James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company, Splitrock Properties Inc. and Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc., Sully Buttes Telephone Cooperative Inc., Tri-County Telecom Inc., Vivian Telephone Co., West River Telecommunications Coop (Mobridge) - SD, and West River Telecommunications Cooperative - SD. Ms. Wiest also recommended that all parties work with staff on a procedural schedule.

Chairman Sahr moved to approve the intervention of SDTA, Golden West Telephone Cooperative Inc., James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company, Splitrock Properties Inc. and Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc., Sully Buttes Telephone Cooperative Inc., Tri-County Telecom Inc., Vivian Telephone Co., West River Telecommunications Coop (Mobridge) - SD, and West River Telecommunications Cooperative - SD in TC03-191. Commissioner Burg seconded and Commissioner Hanson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

11. IN THE MATTER OF THE FAILURE OF CERTAIN TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES TO TIMELY FILE THE GROSS RECEIPTS TAX. (Deputy Executive Director: Heather K. Forney)

Ms. Forney stated that the following companies have failed to file their gross receipts tax as required by SDCL 49-1A:

ACSI Local Switched Services, Inc. d/b/a e.spire
All-Star Acquisition Corporation
Atlas Communications, Ltd.
Big Planet, Inc.
Comtel Network, LLC
Corporate Calling Services, Inc. (aka U.S. Long Distance Inc.)
Eastern Telecommunications Inc.
Essex Communications, Inc. d/b/a eLEC Communications
ezTel Network Services, LLC
Fort Randall Telephone Company
GLD, Group Long Distance, Inc.
Glyphics Communications, Inc.
Intelecall Communications, Inc.
Intercontinental Communications Group, Inc. d/b/a Fusion Telecom / Trucker Phone
LD Exchange.com, Inc.
Long Distance Billing Services, Inc.
Maxcess, Inc.
Mt. Rushmore Telephone Company
Natel, LLC
Norstar Communications, Inc. d/b/a Business Savings Plan
QuantumShift Communications, Inc
S&S Communications/Alterna Cell
Sonix4U, Inc.
Special Accounts Billing Group, Inc.
TON Services, Inc.
TransNet Connect, Inc.
UKI Communications, Inc.
United Communications HUB, Inc.
and Western CLEC Corporation d/b/a Business Services by Cellular One.

Ms. Forney stated that S&S Communications/Alterna Cell's Certificate of Authority has been revoked but still owes the Gross Receipt Tax. It was further discussed whether the Commission has jurisdiction over Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority (CRST), and it was decided not to proceed with an Order to Show Cause against CRST. Ms. Rogers indicated that she would contact Fort Randall Telephone and Mt. Rushmore Telephone Companies.

Commissioner Burg moved to issue Orders to Show Cause against ACSI Local Switched Services, Inc. d/b/a e.spire; All-Star Acquisition Corporation; Atlas Communications, Ltd.; Big Planet, Inc.; Comtel Network, LLC; Corporate Calling Services, Inc. (aka U.S. Long Distance Inc.); Eastern Telecommunications Inc.; Essex Communications, Inc. d/b/a eLEC Communications; ezTel Network Services, LLC; Fort Randall Telephone Company; GLD, Group Long Distance, Inc.; Glyphics Communications, Inc.; Intelecall Communications, Inc.; Intercontinental Communications Group, Inc. d/b/a Fusion Telecom / Trucker Phone; LD Exchange.com, Inc.; Long Distance Billing Services, Inc.; Maxcess, Inc.; Mt. Rushmore Telephone Company; Natel, LLC; Norstar Communications, Inc. d/b/a Business Savings Plan; QuantumShift Communications, Inc; S&S Communications/Alterna Cell; Sonix4U, Inc.; Special Accounts Billing Group, Inc.; TON Services, Inc.; TransNet Connect, Inc.; UKI Communications, Inc.; United Communications HUB, Inc.; and Western CLEC Corporation d/b/a Business Services by Cellular One. Chairman Sahr seconded and Commissioner Hanson concurred. Motion passed 3-0.

Meeting adjourned.

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Tina Douglas
Administrative Secretary