South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 5, 2009, at 9:30 A.M.
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota
MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING
Vice Chairman Steve Kolbeck called the meeting to order. Present were: Commissioner Gary Hanson; Executive Director Patty Van Gerpen; Deputy Executive Director Heather Forney; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Commission Attorney Rolayne Wiest; Staff Attorneys Kara Semmler and Karen Cremer; Staff Analysts Terri LaBrie Baker, Bob Knadle, and Jon Thurber; Consumer Affairs Supervisor Deb Gregg; and Administrative Secretary Demaris Axthelm.
Also present were: Dave Gerdes, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, representing Midcontinent Communications; Meredith Moore, Cutler and Donahoe, representing SStelecom, Inc.; Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, representing Local Exchange Carriers Association and South Dakota Telecommunications Association; and Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications.
Joining the meeting by telephone were: Chairman Dustin Johnson; Dave Ziegler and George Thomson, Qwest Corporation..
- Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
Ms. Deb Gregg reported that the Commission had received a total of 117 contacts since the last report was prepared for the April 21, 2009 Commission meeting. 27 contacts involved telecommunications services; 26 contacts involved electrical services; 4 contacts involved natural gas services; 3 contacts involved electrical and natural gas issues; 9 contacts involved cell phone services; 27 contacts involved the Do Not Call Registry; 5 contacts related to the Keystone XL Pipeline; 1 contact related to Wind Energy and 15 contacts involved issues not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. In 2009, 943 of the 1,012 complaints registered have been resolved informally. In 2008, 2,512 of the 2,513 complaints registered have been resolved informally.
1. CT08-002 In the Matter of the Complaint filed by Roger L. Hall, Rapid City, South Dakota, against Qwest Corporation Regarding the Cost of Telephone Line Extensions (Staff Analyst: Deb Greg, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Mr. George Thomson, Qwest Corporation (Qwest) stated that Roger Hall and Qwest have settled their differences and jointly filed a stipulated motion to dismiss. Ms. Kara Semmler stated that Staff has no objections.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant the Stipulated Motion to Dismiss Complaint with Prejudice. Motion passed 3-0.
Mr. George Thomson, Qwest Corporation (Qwest) stated that parties have agreed to a resolution and Qwest filed a motion to dismiss and close Docket TC06-007. Ms. Kara Semmler stated that Staff has no objection.
Commissioner Hanson moved to dismiss and close Docket TC06-007. Motion passed 3-0.
2. TC08-127 In the Matter of the Application of Qwest Corporation to Modify the Jurisdictional Report Requirements in Section 2 by Establishing a Percent Interstate Usage (PIU) Floor for Unidentified Feature Group D (FGD) Terminating Traffic. (Staff Analysts: Terri LaBrie Baker/Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. George Thomson, Qwest Corporation (Qwest) stated that Qwest and MCI Communications Services, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Business Services (Verizon) are continuing to negotiate towards a settlement. Qwest filed a motion for Further Extension of Suspension and requested that it be granted. Ms. Karen Cremer noted that all intervenors supported the extension and Staff recommends granting the Motion to Further Extend Suspension.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant the Motion to Further Extend the Suspension. Motion passed 3-0.
3. TC09-014 In the Matter of the Filing by SSTELECOM, Inc. for an Extension of an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates. (Staff Analyst: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Vice Chairman Kolbeck announced that Telecommunications item 3 will be taken with item 1 in the addendum to the agenda.
Ms. Kara Semmler stated that upon this filing Staff discovered that Virtual Network Solutions, Inc. does not have a COA and upon correspondence with Virtual Network Solutions it was discovered that Virtual Network Solutions markets internet products from Qwest and doesn't intend to provide a telephone service. Ms. Semmler further stated that this was mistakenly filed and asked that the Commission disapprove the agreement and dismiss Docket TC09-016. Mr. George Thomson, Qwest Corporation (Qwest) agreed with Staff's comments.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to disapprove the agreement and dismiss Docket TC09-016. Motion passed 3-0.
ADDENDUM TO THE
AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING
1. TC09-014 In the Matter of the Filing by SSTELECOM, Inc. for an Extension of an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates. (Staff Analyst: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Dave Gerdes, representing Midcontinent Communications (Midcontinent) stated that Midcontinent does compete with SSTELECOM, Inc. and does have a business interest in this proceeding. Mr. Gerdes further stated that the outcome of the proceeding would affect the switched access charges that Midcontinent would pay to SSTELECOM as a CLEC and asked that the Commission grant intervention to Midcontinent. Ms. Meredith Moore, representing SSTELECOM briefed the Commission on two crucial factual distinctions between the Midstate Docket and SSTELECOM that are currently before the Commission. Ms. Moore further asked that the Commission deny intervention to Midcontinent. Ms. Karen Cremer stated that she does not disagree with Ms. Moore. Ms. Cremer further stated that Midcontinent did timely file for intervention, and Midcontinent does meet the standards for intervention and therefore recommends granting intervention.
Chairman Johnson moved to grant intervention to Midcontinent Communications. Motion passed 3-0.
Ms. Moore asked that SSTELECOM be formally authorized to continue to bill at the rate that is currently set out in the Settlement Stipulation and what is currently found in its tariff. Mr. Gerdes stated that Midcontinent opposes the Motion for Temporary Approval of Switched Access Rates and that the Switched Access Rate should go to the incumbent rate and if the Commission does approve a Switched Access Rate then Midcontinent would request that a evidentiary hearing be set. Ms. Cremer recommended that the Commission grant the Motion for Temporary Approval of Switched Access Rates. Ms. Rolayne Wiest stated that the rates are in effect today and will be in effect after May 15, 2009, and recommended granting the motion.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant the motion for Temporary approval of Switched Access Rates and that after May 15, 2009, the rates are unfrozen and will leave the current rate in effect. Motion passed 3-0.
There being no further business, at the hour of 10:30 A.M. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting adjourned. Next Commission meeting is scheduled for May 19, 2009.
/S/ Demaris Axthelm_______.
July 29, 2009