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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
January 31, 2012, 2:30 P.M. CST
Room 412, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Chris Nelson called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commissioner Kristie Fiegen and Gary Hanson; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Ryan Soye and Kara Semmler; Staff Analysts: Nathan Solem, Joshua Williams, Matthew Tysdal, David Jacobson, Jon Thurber, and Chris Daugaard; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Joy Irving and Demaris Axthelm.

Also present were: Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes, and Thompson, representing Montana-Dakota Utilities; Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing Midstate Telecommunications and Fort Randall Telephone Company; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Bruce Hanson, Fort Randall Telephone Company; Melissa Baruth, Bleau LaFave, Pam Bonrud, and Sara Dannen, NorthWestern Energy; and Bill VanCamp, Olinger, Lovald, McCahren, and Reimers, P.C., representing AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLC, representing Sprint Communications Company L.P.; Chris Madsen, LLP, representing Qwest Corporation dba Century Link, QC; Meredith Moore, Cutler & Donahoe, LLP representing Midstate Telecommunications; Lance Seinhart and Maritza Morales, 1 800 Collect, Inc.; Scott Swier, Swier Law Firm, representing Wide Voice, L.L.C. and Native American Telecom, LLC; Philip Schenkenberg and Bret Lawson, Briggs and Morgan, P.A., representing Sprint Communications Company L.P.; Jeff Decker, Northwestern Energy; Gale Johnson, Tony Thompson, and Forest Thompson, Why Not Investments, LLC; Tamie Aberle and Darrell Anderson, Montana-Dakota Utilities; Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation dba Century Link, QC.

Administration

1.         Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on January 17, 2012. (Staff: Joy Irving)
        
       Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the minutes of the Commission Meeting held on January 17, 2011. Motion carried 3-0.

Commissioner Nelson stated docket PS11-001 would be moved to the end of the agenda.

Consumer Reports

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

The Commission received a total of 79 contacts since the last report was prepared for the January 17, 2012 Commission meeting.

13 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 20 of the contacts involved electrical services, 11 contacts involved natural gas service, 1 contact involved gas and electric service, 5 contacts involved cell phone service, 14 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry and 15 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

126 of the 137 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

2,758 of the 2,760 complaints received in 2011 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL11-030     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation, dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)
        
Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern, requested Commission approval regarding Section 3, sheet 25.2 of its electric tariff, as NorthWestern will no longer perform maintenance work on customer-owned lighting systems. Mr. Decker also requested approval of revisions to Section 5, sheet 1, which adds language to allow NorthWestern to require a customer of at least legal age be present at service turn-on or during any work at the customer's premise.  Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, recommended the Commission grant approval.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the tariff revisions. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL12-002     In the Matter of the Notification Pursuant to ARSD 20:10:26:04(6) by Why Not Investments, LLC regarding Its Central Water Heating System in a Unit Efficiency Apartment Building, Rapid City, South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Gale Johnson, Why Not Investments, LLC, asked the Commission for approval regarding its notice of an existing exception to Master Metering Variance Rules under ARSD 20:10:26.  Why Not Investments purchased a 23 unit efficiency apartment building in downtown Rapid City and because it already contained a central water heating system, believed it qualified for an exception to the individual metering requirements under ARSD 20:10:26:04(6). Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, recommended the Commission grant approval.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to find that the applicant's system qualifies for the exception. Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.     NG11-008     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of its Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Energy, requested the Commission for approval to NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) to revise its Natural Gas Tariff. NorthWestern proposes to add language so the company may require a customer or customer representative of at least the legal age of majority, or 18 years of age, be present at service turn-on or be present when performing work inside a customer's facility. Mr. Decker also requested approval of the proposal that when calculating a contribution in aid of construction, the distance of the service will be measured from the company's gas main instead of the customer's property line. Mr. David Jacobson, staff analyst, recommended the Commission grant approval.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the tariff revisions. Motion carried 3-0.

Pipeline Safety

1.     PS11-001     In the Matter of the Petition for Declaratory Ruling of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission regarding 49 CFR 192.3 (Staff Analysts: Nathan Solem, Joshua Williams, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding the Request for a Declaratory Ruling of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission regarding 49 CFR 192.3 and can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2012, January 31, 2012, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2012/default.aspx.

         Commissioner Nelson moved to issue a Declaratory Ruling regarding 49 CFR 192.3 that the particular NorthWestern line at issue, this is a distribution line because it is downstream from a distribution center.  Motion carried 3-0.

2.     PS11-002     In the Matter of the Filing by Commission Pipeline Safety Staff for Approval of a Penalty for a Pipeline Safety Violation by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (Staff Analysts: Nathan Solem, Joshua Williams, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding the Approval of a Penalty for a Pipeline Safety Violation by NorthWestern and can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2012, January 31, 2012, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2012/default.aspx.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to assess a civil penalty against NorthWestern for $2000.00. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     PS11-003     In the Matter of the Filing by Commission Pipeline Safety Staff for Approval of a Penalty for a Pipeline Safety Violation by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (Staff Analysts: Nathan Solem, Joshua Williams, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Nathan Solem, South Dakota Pipeline Safety Staff, stated that he conducted a public awareness effectiveness inspection. Mr. Solem stated the inspection uncovered deficiencies in Montana-Dakota Utilities' (MDU) program.  As a result of the deficiencies, on December 21, 2012, staff filed a letter requesting Commission's approval of an $800 civil penalty against MDU pursuant to SDCL 49-34B-12.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to assess a civil penalty against MDU for $800.00. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC10-026     In the Matter of a Complaint Filed by Sprint Communications Company, LP Against Native American Telecom, LLC Regarding Telecommunications Services (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Phillip Schenkenberg, Sprint Communications Company, LP (Sprint), requested approval of a Protective Order requiring the parties and Interveners to comply with a Confidentially Agreement. Mr. Scott Swier, representing NAT, stated there were no objections. Ms. Rolayne Wiest, commission counsel, stated there was a typological error referencing paragraph 5. Ms. Wiest requested that Sprint re-file.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant Sprint's Motion Requesting a Protective Order Requiring the Parties and Intervenors to Comply with a Confidentiality Agreement. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC11-075     In the Matter of the Filing by Midstate Telecom, Inc. for Approval of its Intrastate Switched Access Tariff and for a Phase-In Period (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, requested the Commission grant the Executive Director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts requested the Commission grant authority. Ms. Darla Roger, representing Midstate Telecom, Inc. (Midstate) did not object.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the Executive Director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC11-077     In the Matter of the Establishment of Switched Access Revenue Requirement for Fort Randall Telephone Company (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, requested the Commission grant the Executive Director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Mr. Bruce Hanson, Fort Randall Telephone Company, did not object.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Executive Director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0. 

4.     TC11-087     In the Matter of the Application of Native American Telecom, LLC for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Scott Swier, representing Native American Telecom, LLC (NAT), requested approval of a Protective Order requiring the parties and intervenors to comply with a Confidentiality Agreement. Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended the Commission grant approval of a Protective Order Requiring the Parities to Comply with a Confidentiality Agreement.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant Native American Telecom's Motion for a Protective Order Requiring the Parities to Comply with a Confidentiality Agreement. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     TC11-088     In the Matter of the Application of Wide Voice, L.L.C. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Scott Swier, representing Wide Voice, L.L.C., requested approval for a Protective Order requiring the parties and intervenors to comply with a confidentiality agreement. Mr. Talbot Wieczorek, representing Sprint, stated there were no objections. Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended granting approval for a Protective Order Requiring the Parities to Comply with a Confidentiality Agreement.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant approval for Wide Voice's Motion for a Protective Order Requiring the Parties to Comply with a Confidentiality Agreement. Motion carried 3-0.

6.     TC11-095     In the Matter of the Application of 1 800 Collect, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Long Distance Services (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, stated 1 800 Collect, Inc. filed for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. Ms. Semmler recommended the Commission approve the Certificate of Authority with the following conditions 1) not offer any prepaid services, including prepaid calling cards; 2) not accept or require deposits or advance payments without prior approval from the Commission; and 3) the Commission grant the requested waiver ARSD 20:10:24:02(9).

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant 1 800 Collect, Inc., a Certificate of Authority with the restrictions recommended by staff. Motion carried 3-0.

7.     TC12-014     In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of the Wireline Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Spectrotel, Inc. dba OneTouch Communications dba Touch Base Communications (Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, requested the Commission grant approval to Wireline Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation and Spectrotel, Inc. dba OneTouch Communications dba Touch Base Communications.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the interconnection agreement. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 4:54 p.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for February 14, 2012.

 

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
January 31, 2012