South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
June 1, 2010, at 10:00 A.M. CST
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; Commission Attorneys John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys Karen Cremer and Kara Semmler; Staff Analysts Terri LaBrie Baker, Tim Binder, Jon Thurber, and Dave Jacobson; Consumer Affairs Supervisor Deb Gregg; and Administrative Secretary Demaris Axthelm.
Also present were: Sam Khoroosi of Khoroosi Law Office, representing Residential Consumer Coalition; Chris Kilpatrick and Todd Brink, Black Hills Power; Lee Magnuson of Lynn, Jackson, Shultz & Lebrun PC, representing Black Hills Power; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; and Darla Pollman Rogers of Riter, Rogers, Wattier, & Northrup, representing West River Telecommunications.
Joining the meeting by telephone were: Chairman Dusty Johnson; Andrew Moratzka of Mackall Crounse & Moore, representing Black Hills Industrial Intervenors; Bruce Gerhardson, Bernadeen Brutlag, Pete Beithon and Ron Spangler, Otter Tail Power Company; Talbot Wieczorek of Gunderson, Palmer, Goodsell and Nelson, representing Neutral Tandem-South Dakota, LLC; Mick Grosz, West River Telecommunications; and George Thomson, Tom Freeberg, and David Ziegler, Qwest.
(NOTE: For the purpose of continuity, these minutes are not necessarily in chronological order.)
1. Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
Ms. Deb Gregg reported that the Commission received a total of 110 contacts since the last report was prepared for the May 18, 2010, Commission Meeting. 22 contacts involved telecommunications services; 37 contacts involved electrical services; 16 contacts involved natural gas services; 5 contacts involved cell phone services; 8 contacts were related to the Do Not Call registry; 4 contacts involved the Keystone XL Pipeline; 1 contact involved the Keystone Pipeline; 1 contact was related to Wind Energy; and 11 contacts involved issues not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. In 2010, 1,116 of the 1,155 complaints registered have been resolved.
1. EL09-018 - In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Authority to Increase its Electric Rates. (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle, Dave Jacobson, Terri LaBrie Baker, Jon Thurber, Tim Binder, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
A transcript of these proceedings can be found at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/dockets/electric/2009/el09-018/060110transcript.pdf
Chairman Johnson moved that the hearing to commence on June 28, 2010, shall be on the issue of whether the Settlement Stipulation filed by Commission Staff and Black Hills Power results in just and reasonable rates and should be approved. Motion passed 3-0.
Bruce Gerhardson, Otter Tail Power Company (OTP) provided a background on the filing and stated that OTP would be filing a rate increase filing no later than August 31, 2010. Mr. Dave Jacobson, Staff Analyst, stated Staff recommended approval.
Commissioner Hanson moved to approve OTP's request for an extension of test period. Motion passed 3-0.
Ms. Kara Semmler, Staff Attorney, stated that Mark Siefkes, dba S.P.O.T. remains out of compliance with One Call rules. The Enforcement Committee of the One Call Board issued an Order assessing a penalty, which Mr. Siefkes did not pay. Ms. Semmler stated that the One Call Board asks the Commission to commence a civil action to collect the penalty.
Vice-Chairman Kolbeck moved to commence a civil action on behalf of the One Call Board to collect the penalty. Motion passed 3-0.
1. TC10-017 - In the Matter of the Application of Neutral Tandem-South Dakota, LLC for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Facilities-Based and Resold Local Exchange and Interexchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Tim Binder, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Mr. Talbot Wieczorek, representing Neutral Tandem-South Dakota, LLC (Neutral Tandem), stated that an agreement has been reached between Neutral Tandem and the Intervenors and asked for Commission approval of the Certificate of Authority for Neutral Tandem. Mr. Rich Coit, representing South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA), stated that SDTA is satisfied with the agreement. Ms. Darla Rogers, representing South Dakota Network (SDN), stated that SDN is also satisfied with the agreement and asked the Commission to move forward with approval of the certificate of authority. Mr. Tim Binder, Staff Analyst, stated that Staff recommended approval of the certificate of authority for Neutral Tandem contingent on the conditions agreed upon by the parties, as well as the condition that Neutral Tandem not provide any pre-paid services and not require or accept any deposits without prior approval of the Commission.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to approve the Certificate of Authority for Neutral Tandem contingent to the conditions agreed upon in the Stipulation and that Neutral Tandem not provide any pre-paid services and not require or accept any deposits without prior approval of the Commission. Motion passed 3-0.
2. TC10-028 - In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of a Wireless Interconnection Agreement Between West River Telecommunications Cooperative and Standing Rock Telecommunications, Inc. (Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Ms. Rogers, representing West River Telecommunications Cooperative, asked for approval by the Commission of the interconnection agreement. Ms. Semmler stated that the agreement was properly filed, properly executed and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions. No comments were filed and Ms. Semmler recommended approval of the agreement.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to approve the wireless interconnection agreement between West River Telecommunications Cooperative and Standing Rock Telecommunications, Inc. Motion passed 3-0.
A discussion took place between the Commission and Qwest regarding rate center consolidations. Chairman Johnson stated that this discussion item was brought before the Commission after a rate center consolidation was approved for the Spearfish, Lead, Deadwood, and Whitewood rate centers into one rate center at the May 18, 2010, Commission Meeting. Chairman Johnson asked Qwest to look into consolidating other rate centers in South Dakota. Mr. David Ziegler, representing Qwest, stated that Qwest would look into other rate centers in the State. Chairman Johnson asked Qwest to submit a follow-up letter to the Commission regarding its findings.
There being no further business, at the hour of 10:48 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting adjourned. The next Commission Meeting is scheduled for June 15, 2010.
July 6, 2010