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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
April 8, 2008, at 9:30 A.M.
State Capitol Building, Room 464
Pierre, South Dakota
MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING
Chairman Gary Hanson called the meeting to order. Present were: Vice Chairman Steve Kolbeck; Commissioner Dusty Johnson; Executive Director Patty Van Gerpen; Deputy Executive Director Heather Forney; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Commission Attorneys John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Staff Attorneys Karen Cremer and Kara Semmler; Staff Analysts Harlan Best, Dave Jacobson, Nathan Solem, and Brian Rounds; and Administrative Secretary Demaris Axthelm.
Also present were: Dave Gerdes, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, representing Xcel Energy; Audry Ricketts, representing South Dakota Rural Electrical Association and Sioux Valley-Southwestern Electric Cooperative d/b/a Sioux Valley Energy; Steve Willard, South Dakota Electric Utility Companies; and Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association.
Joining the meeting by telephone were: Paul Roberts, Clay-Union Electric Corporation; Bill Heaston, Knology Community Telephone Inc; Richard Helsper, Glover and Helsper, PC, representing Swiftel Communications; Jim Adkins, Brookings Telephone d/b/a Swiftel Communications; Bob Hill, Brookings County Commission and Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern Energy.
1. Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
Ms. Kara Semmler reported that the Commission had received a total of 74 contacts since the last report was prepared for the March 25, 2008, Commission meeting. 7 contacts involved telecommunications services; 12 contacts involved electricity issues; 9 contacts involved natural gas issues; 1 contact involved electrical and natural gas services; 5 contacts involved cellular phone issues; 23 contacts involved the Do Not Call Registry; and 17 contacts involved issues not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. In 2008, 583 of the 635 complaints registered have been resolved informally. In 2007, 2,296 of the 2,337 complaints registered have been resolved informally.
1. EL08-001 - In the Matter of the Application of Xcel Energy for a Permit to Construct 6.5 Miles of 115 Kv Transmission Line and Associated Modifications to the Brookings Substation. (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle/Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Dave Gerdes, representing Xcel Energy (Xcel) stated that Xcel had no objection to the proposed intervention by the Brookings County Commission. Mr. Bob Hill stated that Brookings County Commission believes they need to be involved in this docket to protect the rights of the Brookings County citizens.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant the application for party status to the Brookings County Commission in Docket EL08-001. Motion passed 3-0.
2. EL08-005 - In the Matter of the Joint Request for an Electric Service Rights Exception between Clay-Union Electric Corporation and NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy. (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle/Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Paul Roberts, representing Clay-Union Electric Coop, (Clay-Union) stated that NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NothWestern Energy (NWE) and Clay-Union have agreed that the duplication of the facilities could be avoided if Clay-Union served a new Midcontinent Communications Booster Station located in NWE's service territory Mr. Ron Gogolin, representing NWE, agreed with Mr. Roberts that Clay-Union should provide electrical service to the Midcontinent Communications Booster Station. Mr. Nathan Solem stated that NorthWestern Energy's cost to provide the service would be $5,300 versus Clay-Union's cost of $300. Staff concurred with both utility companies that this service exception avoids unnecessary duplication of facilities and promotes the efficient and economical use and development of the electric systems as outlined in 49-34A-55. Mr. Solem further stated that Staff recommends approval.
Commissioner Johnson moved to approve the joint request for an Electric Service Rights Exception in Docket EL08-005. Motion passed 3-0.
3. EL08-006 - In the Matter of the Joint Request for Electric Service Territory Boundary Changes between Sioux Valley-Southwestern Electric Cooperative, d/b/a Sioux Valley Energy and Brookings Municipal Utilities. (Staff Analyst: Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Mr. Richard Helsper stated that this has been an ongoing project to update service territory maps and asked that the Commission accept the filing of the maps. Ms. Audry Ricketts asked that the Commission support the joint request for an electric service territory boundary change and the filing of the maps. Ms. Kara Semmler stated that Staff agrees with Mr. Helsper and Ms. Ricketts and recommended that the Commission approve the joint request for an electric service territory boundary change.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to approve the joint request for electric service territory boundary change between Sioux Valley Southwestern Electric Cooperative, d/b/a Sioux Valley Energy and Brookings Municipal Utilities. Motion passed 3-0.
Mr. Harlan Best stated that Americatel filed to modify its Certificate of Authority and after several data requests from Staff, Americatel has agreed to withdraw its request.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant the withdrawal request and close Docket TC06-187. Motion passed 3-0.
2. TC07-104 - In the Matter of the Filing by PrairieWave Community Telephone, Inc. for an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Bill Heaston, representing PrairieWave Community Telephone, Inc., stated that all required material has been filed and asked that the Commission grant the request for the exemption. Mr. Harlan Best stated that PraireWave, now known as Knology, filed a request to not have to file a cost study for three years and based on the information that the company filed, Staff agreed that the three year exemption is appropriate with an ending date of December 17, 2010.
Commissioner Johnson moved to grant the exemption from developing company specific cost based switched assess rates for the three year period ending on December 17, 2010, and that PrairieWave's existing tariff, effective December 17, 2004, shall remain in effect until such date or the Commission shall otherwise order. Motion passed 3-0.
3. In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of an Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement in Dockets TC08-004 and TC08-029
TC08-004 - In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of an Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation and Iowa Wireless Services, LLC d/b/a i Wireless. (Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Ms. Kara Semmler stated that the amendments in Dockets TC08-004 and TC08-029 have been properly filed, have been properly executed and do not appear to contain discriminatory provisions. No comments were filed, and staff recommends approval of the Agreements.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to approve the Amendments to the Interconnection Agreements in Dockets TC08-004 and TC08-029. Motion passed 3-0.
Ms. Kara Semmler 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 staff recommends approval of the Agreement.
Commissioner Johnson moved to approve the interconnection agreement in Docket TC08-028. Motion passed 3-0.
5. TC08-033 - In the Matter of the Filing by Brookings Telephone d/b/a Swiftel Communications for Approval of Revisions to the Local Exchange Service Territory for the City of Brookings, South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Mr. Jim Adkins stated that Swiftel is asking for approval to amend its certificate of authority based on the results of annexation. Mr. Adkins further stated that they have contacted the owner of the real estate that has been annexed into the City and submitted certification to the Commission of the landowner's approval. Mr. Rich Helsper stated that no objections have been filed. Ms. Kara Semmler stated as a result of a 2006 annexation to the City of Brookings, the Commission received a filing from Swiftel pursuant to SDCL 49-31-69 for approval to amend its certificate of authority for local exchange service and to waive ARSD 20:10:32:03 (1-8); (10-22); and (24). Ms. Semmler further stated that the company has complied with SDCL 49-31-69 and Staff recommends approval of the application and that the Commission waive ARSD 20:10:32:03 (1-8); (10-22); and (24).
Chairman Hanson moved to grant the Amended Certificate of Authority, approve the revision to Swiftel's service territory, and to waive ARSD 20:10:32:03, parts 1 through 8, 10 through 22 and 24 in Docket TC08-033. Motion passed 3-0.
There being no further business, at the hour of 9:50 am the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting adjourned.