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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 22, 2012, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Chris Nelson called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commissioner: Kristie Fiegen; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: David Jacobson, Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber, Chris Daugaard, Ross Peterson, Matthew Tysdal, Brian Rounds, and Patrick Steffensen; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Demaris Axthelm.

Also present were: Jim Wilcox, Kari Valley, and Tom Kramer, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Jeff Eckhoff, SD SBDC;  and Chris Kilpatrick, Erin Wentz, and Todd Brink, Black Hills Power, Inc.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Commissioner: Gary Hanson; Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing South Dakota Network, LLC; Bret Langford and Phil Schenkenberg, Briggs and Morgan P.A., representing Sprint Communications Company L.P.; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson, and Ashmore, LLP, representing Sprint Communications Company L.P.; David Carter, Arent, Fox, LLC, representing Northern Valley Communications, Inc.; Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer, LLC, representing Northern Valley Communications, Inc.; Kit Talich, West Central Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Gary Clayton, Rosebud Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Tamie Aberle and Jacob Zettel, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Deb Paulson and Paul Lehman, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Jessica Fyhrie, Otter Tail Power Company; Erik Braun, Dream Design International, Inc.; Tom Forte, Technologies Management, representing Televergence Solutions, Inc.; Brett Ferenchak, Bingham McCutchen LLP, representing Onvoy, Inc. dba Onvoy Voice Services; Mary Buley, Onvoy, Inc. dba Onvoy Voice Services; Bob Towers and Dave Petersen, Chesapeake Regulatory Consultants, Inc., representing Commission Staff

(NOTE: For the purpose of continuity, these minutes are not necessarily in chronological order.)

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Ad Hoc Commission Meeting Held on May 2, 2012, and the Commission Meeting Held on May 8, 2012 (Staff: Joy Irving)

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the minutes of the Ad Hoc Commission Meeting Held on May 2, 2012, and the Commission Meeting Held on May 8, 2012. Motion carried 3-0.

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 67 contacts since the last report was prepared for the May 8, 2012 Commission meeting.

6 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 21 of the contacts involved electrical services, 2 contacts involved natural gas service, 6 contacts involved cell phone service, 20 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 12 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

776 of the 788 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

Administration

Commissioner Nelson stated that EL12-023, EL12-026, and EL12-032 would be heard together.

Electric

1.      EL10-014     In the Matter of the Petition of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of its 2011 Transmission Cost Recovery Eligibility and Rate Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Ross Pedersen; Staff Attorneys: Ryan Soye, Kara Semmler)

Mr. Jim Wilcox, North States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Xcel) asked the Commission to withdraw its Petition and close the docket. Mr. Wilcox stated Xcel previously filed another Petition that would replace this Petition. Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, explained that Xcel's updated filing would ensure that the TCR filing conforms to the Commission's order passed in Docket EL10-015, and to make certain updates of additional projects and how the pending rate case will affect the TCR filing. Mr. Soye recommended withdrawing the Petition and closing the docket.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the Company's Petition to withdraw its filing and close the docket. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL11-001     In the Matter of the Petition of Black Hills Power, Inc. to Establish an Environmental Measures Cost Recovery Tariff (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, Chris Daugaard; Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Chris Kilpatrick, Black Hills Power, Inc. (BHP) asked the Commission for approval to amend the filing date for BHP's jurisdictional earnings from June 1 to May 1 to allow Commission staff to properly review its earnings before the rates go into effect. Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, recommended Commission approval of the Amendment to the Settlement Stipulation.    

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the Amendment to the Settlement Stipulation with an additional Amendment of an April 15 deadline. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson stated that EL12-023, EL12-026, and EL12-032 would be heard together.

3.     EL12-023     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Cherry-Todd Electric Cooperative, Inc. and West Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Ross Pedersen, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

4.     EL12-026     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Rosebud Electric Cooperative, Inc. and West Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Ross Pedersen; Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)
        
5.     EL12-032     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (Staff Analyst: Ross Pedersen; Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Ross Pedersen, staff analyst, stated that the filings are part of the GIS mapping project to verify all South Dakota electric service territory boundaries for input into the ArcMap software. Mr. Pedersen explained that the agreement does not change the service provider to customers; however, it does reflect a change to the PUC's map kept on file. Staff requested approval of the electric service territory boundary agreement.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the proposed electric service territory boundary agreements filed in Dockets EL12-023, EL12-026, and EL12-032.Motion carried 3-0.

6.     EL12-028     In the Matter of the Filing of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of its 2011 Economic Development Activities and 2012 Budget (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL12-028. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; May 22, 2012, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2012/default.aspx.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the 2011 Economic Development Annual Report and the 2012 Economic Development Plan. Motion carried 3-0.

7.     EL12-029     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Approval of its Environmental Improvement Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Chris Kilpatrick, Black Hills Power, Inc. (BHP) asked the Commission for approval of its Environmental Improvement Adjustment (EIA). Mr. Jon Thurber, staff analyst, stated that staff and BHP had resolved all differences in the rate calculation. BHP submitted revised tariff sheets on May 11 and submitted a memorandum in support of the rider. Mr. Thurber recommended that the Commission grant approval of BHP's EIA.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the 2012 Environmental Improvement Adjustment. Motion carried 3-0.

8.     EL12-030     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Approval of its Electric Cost Adjustment (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson; Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Chris Kilpatrick, Black Hills Power, Inc. asked the Commission for approval of its Electric Cost Adjustment. Mr. David Jacobson, staff analyst, stated that the proposed tariff sheets are acceptable for approval, or another alternative is to dismiss and close the docket because pursuant to the automatic provision in SDCL 49-34A-25, formal approval is not required.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to dismiss and close the docket as formal approval is not required pursuant to SDCL49-34A-25. Motion carried 3-0.

9.     EL12-031     In the Matter of the Filing by Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Matthew Tysdal, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the tariff revisions to Otter Tail Power Company's (Otter Tail) revised Section 16.00, Sheet No. 3 of its Tariff Book. Mr. Tysdal explained that the municipal service agreements, currently listed as contracts with deviations, between Otter Tail and the Town of New Effington and the City of Oldham will expire in May.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve Otter Tail's request for tariff revisions. Motion carried 3-0.

10.     EL12-033     In the Matter of the Request for a Declaratory Ruling by Dream Design International, Inc. regarding the Application of ARSD § 20:10:26:04(2) to a Residential Complex Intended to House School of Mines Students (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, explained that staff reviewed the filing and Dream Design International, Inc. (DDI) has correctly interpreted the exception to individual metering requirements set forth in ARSD § 20:10:26:04(2). Mr. Soye stated that this exception applies to the DDI's residential complex which can qualify as a dormitory or residential facility of strictly transient nature.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to determine that Dream Designs, Inc. has correctly interpreted the Administrative Rules of South Dakota applicable to master metering requirements. Motion carried 3-0.

11.     EL12-035     In the Matter of the Petition of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of its 2011-2012 Transmission Cost Recovery Eligibility and Rate Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Ross Pedersen; Staff Attorneys: Ryan Soye, Kara Semmler) 

Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, stated that this was the updated filing of Xcel Energy (Xcel) and requested that the Commission assess a filing fee of up to $50,000 as authorized by SDCL 49-1A-8 to defray expenses incident to analyzing the issues in the case. Mr. Soye also requested that the Commission suspend the implementation of the rate proposed by Xcel for a period not to exceed 180 days pursuant to SDCL 49-34A-14 and to give the Executive Director the authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts if required.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to assess a filing fee in the amount of up to $50,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of the petition commencing from the filing date, that the Commission suspend implementation of rates according to ARSD 49-34A-14, and that the Commission give the Executive Director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.     NG12-003     In the Matter of The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society's Notice to the Commission and Request for Determination of an Exception to Individual Metering Requirements under ARSD § 20:10:26:04(6) for a planned 44-unit Residential Complex (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, explained that the gas usage will be for a central hot water system only and that the electric supplier will be the city of Sioux Falls, a utility not subject to the Commission's master metering rules in ARSD 20:10:26. Mr. Soye recommended dismissing the matter as all issues identified in the petition fall outside the Commission's jurisdiction.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to dismiss and close the docket as all issues identified in the petition fall outside the Commission's jurisdiction. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC12-025     In the Matter of the Application of Televergence Solutions, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Long Distance Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, explained that on February 21, 2012, Televergence Solutions filed an application for a certificate of authority to provide interexchange services in South Dakota, according to the Commission's administrative rules.  Mr. Steffensen stated the South Dakota Sales Tax Number staff requested has been received.  Staff recommended the Commission grant the Certificate of Authority to Televergence Solutions with the following conditions: 1) Televergence is not to offer any prepaid services, including prepaid calling cards, 2) Televergence is not to 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), as Televergence does not compile a Cash Flow Statement.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Certificate of Authority to Televergence Solutions, Inc. according to staff's stipulations. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC12-031     In the Matter of the Filing by Onvoy, Inc. dba Onvoy Voice Services for Approval of its Access Services Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated that on March 28, 2012, Onvoy Voice Services filed its Access Services Tariff for approval.  Mr. Steffensen explained that the ARSD 20:10:27:02.01 requires CLECs charge intrastate switched access rates that do not exceed those of the RBOC operating in the state, and Onvoy has chosen a rate which mirrors the CenturyLink rate.  Staff recommended approval of the Access Services Tariff.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve Onvoy's Access Services Tariff. Motion carried 3-0.

         Continuation of Commission Meeting: Docket EL11-019 will be heard at 1:00 p.m. CDT in Room 413 of the Capitol Building

1.     EL11-019     In the Matter of the Application of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Authority to Increase its Electric Rates (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Dave Jacobson, Brittany Mehlhaff, Brian Rounds, Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding Docket EL11-019. The transcript can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions: Commission Minutes: 2012 - http://puc.sd.gov/commission/minutes/2012/transcript052212el11-019.pdf. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; May 22, 2012, Hearing for Docket EL11-019, recording located at: http:/puc.sd.gov/commission/media/puc05222012.mp3.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Stipulation and approve the terms and conditions stipulated therein. Motion carried 3-0.

ADDENDUM TO THE
AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING

1.     TC09-098     In the Matter of the Complaint filed by South Dakota Network, LLC against Sprint Communications Company L.P. Regarding Failure to Pay Intrastate Centralized Equal Access Charges and to Immediately Pay Undisputed Portions of SDN's Invoices

In the Matter of the Third Party Complaint Sprint Communications Company LP against Northern Valley Communications, Inc. and Capital Telephone Company (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

        
A lengthy discussion took place regarding Docket TC09-098. The transcript can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions: Commission Minutes: 2012 - http://puc.sd.gov/commission/minutes/2012/transcript052212tc09-098.pdf. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; May 22, 2012, Hearing for Docket TC09-098, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/puc05222012.mp3.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to deny Sprint's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved as follows regarding Northern Valley's Motion to Compel. For Interrogatories 1 and 2, he moved that the Commission grant the motion with the modifications that the references to "legal bases" be removed and that the references to "all" be changed to "material." For Interrogatory No. 4 and Document Request 15, he moved that the Commission grant the motion to the extent that Sprint has not yet fully complied with the request. For Interrogatory No. 7(a), he moved that the Commission find the parties have agreed to the volume of minutes and moved to grant the motion for the purpose that Sprint will state in writing that it agrees with the volumes that have been provided by Northern Valley to Sprint. For Interrogatory No. 7, he moved to deny the request for revenues. For Interrogatory 8 and Document Requests 26 and 35, he moved that the Commission deny the motion. For Interrogatory 9 and Document Requests 23 and 36, he moved that the Commission grant the motion. For Interrogatory 13, he moved that the Commission grant the motion, but to the extent that Sprint has not yet identified the testimony, Sprint would be required to provide the information once it has made such identification. For Document Request No. 1, he moved to deny the motion as unduly burdensome. For Document Request 34, he moved to grant the motion. On the issue of the document redactions, he moved to grant the request to compel the redactions to be removed from the documents. On the issue of the February 13, 2012, letter, he moved to deny the request to remove the confidential status of the letter at this time. On the issue regarding the request for expenses, he moved to deny the request for expenses. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved as follows regarding Sprint's Motion for Protective Order Regarding Northern Valley's Corporate Deposition Notice. For Topics 5, 6, and 21, he moved to deny the motion except for what has already been agreed to by Northern Valley and Sprint. For Topic 7, Commissioner Nelson moved to deny the motion. For Topic 10, he moved to deny the motion. For Topic 22, he moved to deny the motion. For Topic 24, he moved to grant the motion. For Topic 25, he moved to deny the motion. For Topic 27, he moved to grant the motion. For Topic 28, he moved to deny the motion. For Topics 29 through 44, he moved to grant the motion. For Topics 46 and 47, he moved to deny the motion. With regard to the issue of Sprint's corporate affiliates, he moved to limit the definition of Sprint to Sprint Communications Company, LP. Regarding the issue as to the allowance of outside of attorneys as included in the definition, he moved to allow the inclusion of outside attorneys as part of Topic 7. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 1:31 p.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

 

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
May 22, 2012