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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
July 17, 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: Commissioners: Kristie Fiegen and Gary Hanson; Commission Counsel: Rolayne Wiest; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Matthew Tysdal, Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber, David Jacobson, and Patrick Steffensen; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Joy Irving.

Also present were:
Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing Midstate Telecom Service, Inc.; Bill VanCamp, Olinger, Lovald, McCahren & Reimers, P.C., representing AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc.; Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing Midstate Telecom Service, Inc.; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Scott Knudson, Briggs and Morgan PA, representing Sprint Communications Company, LP; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Randy Houdek, Venture Communications Cooperative; and Mark Benton, Midstate Telecom Service, Inc.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Commission Counsel: John Smith; Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler; Dan Caldwell, Consortia Consulting, representing Midstate Telecom Service, Inc.; Kathy Ford, Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz, & Smith LLP, representing Midcontinent Communications; Larry Hettinger, Heartland Consulting, representing Hills Telephone Company Inc. and Kadoka Telephone Company; Debbie Brown, Faith Municipal Telephone Company; Kim Stumpp, Consortia Consulting, representing Faith Municipal Telephone Company, TrioTel Communications Inc., and Beresford Municipal Telephone Company; Jim Wilcox, Kari Valley, and Deb Paulson, Northern States Power dba Xcel Energy; Bill Hunt, dishNET Wireline L.L.C.; Nancy Vogel, Midcontinent Communications; Ryan Taylor, Cutler & Donahoe LLP, representing Hills Telephone Company Inc.; Pat Mastel, OrbitCom, Inc.; Todd Hansen, Beresford Municipal Telephone Company;  Scott Swier, Swier Law Firm Prof LLC, representing Native American Telecom, LLC; Tracy Bandemer, Jerry Heiberger, and Jim Cannon, SSTELECOM, Inc. dba ITC; Donna Thiel, Red River Rural Telephone Association.

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 69 contacts since the last report was prepared for the July 3, 2012 Commission meeting.

12 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 22 of the contacts involved electrical services, 11 contacts involved natural gas service, 7 contacts involved cell phone service, 8 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 9 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

1,044 of the 1,072 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

Electric

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, David 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/transcriptel11-019071712.pdf. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; July 17, 2012, for Docket EL11-019.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the interim rate refund plan and tariff sheets. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL12-046     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, Patrick Steffensen, Brittany Mehlhaff, Matthew Tysdal, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the imposition of the tariff be suspended for 180 days beyond June 29, 2012, that a filing fee of up to $250,000.00 be assessed and that the executive director be authorized to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Ms. Kari Valley, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Xcel) stated that Xcel supports staffs recommendation.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to suspend the imposition of the tariff for 180 days beyond June 29, 2012, to assess a filing fee for actual expenses not to exceed $250,000, and to give the Executive Director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0.

Commission Nelson stated TC10-026 would be heard last.

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)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding Docket TC10-026. The transcript can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions: Commission Minutes: 2012 - http://puc.sd.gov/commission/minutes/2012/transcripttc10-026071712.pdf. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; July 17, 2012, for Docket TC10-026.
        
     Commissioner Hanson moved to deny Native American Telecom LLC's Motion to Dismiss.

     Commissioner Nelson made a substitute motion to defer the Motion to Dismiss until the next Commission meeting.
                                                                                                            
     After discussion Commissioners Hanson and Nelson withdrew both of their motions, and after discussion regarding the Motion to Compel, all matters were taken under advisement.

2.     In the Matter of the Request for Certification Regarding the Use of Federal Universal Service Support in Dockets TC12-047, TC12-048, TC12-051, TC12-053, TC12-055, TC12-056, TC12-058, AND TC12-066

     TC12-047     In the Matter of the Request of Stockholm-Strandburg Telephone Company dba ITC for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-048     In the Matter of the Request of SSTELECOM, Inc. dba ITC for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jon Thurber, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-051     In the Matter of the Request of Red River Rural Telephone Association for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-053     In the Matter of the Request of Beresford Municipal Telephone Company for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
        
Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-055     In the Matter of the Request of Venture Communications Cooperative for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jon Thurber, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-056     In the Matter of the Request of Western Telephone Company for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jon Thurber, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-058     In the Matter of the Request of TrioTel Communications Inc. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
        
Mr. Jon Thurber, staff analyst, recommended that the provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-066     In the Matter of the Request of City of Faith Municipal Telephone Company for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jon Thurber, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to provide a certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the Universal Service Administration Company regarding the plan for the use of Federal Universal Services Support as proposed in each of the above dockets. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC12-054     In the Matter of the Filing OrbitCom, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 2 (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
        
Ms. Rolayne Wiest, Commission Counsel, recommended that the Commission defer the docket.
        
4.     TC12-070     In the Matter of the Filing by Hills Telephone Company Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Access Service Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Meredith Moore, representing Hills Telephone Company, Inc.'s (Hills Telephone), requested approval of revisions to Hills Telephone's Access Service Tariff No. 1 with an effective date of July 1, 2012. Mr. David Jacobson, staff analyst, stated that the waiver has already been granted and recommended approval to Hills Telephone revisions to its Access Service Tariff No. 1.

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

5.     TC12-076     In the Matter of the Filing by Kadoka Telephone Company for Approval of Revisions to its Access Service Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing Kadoka Telephone Company, requested approval of revisions to Kadoka's Access Service Tariff No. 1. Mr. David Jacobson, staff analyst, stated that the waiver has already been granted and recommended approval of the tariff revisions.

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

6.     TC12-095     In the Matter of the Filing by dishNET Wireline L.L.C. for Approval of Revisions to its Access Service Tariff No. 2 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Bill Hunt, dishNET Wireline L.L.C., requested that the Commission grant approval of revisions to its Access Service Tariff No. 2.  Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated staff has reviewed the dishNET tariff revisions for compliance with the transitional terminating switched access rate provisions of the recent FCC order.  DishNET has elected to decrease its terminating intrastate access rates by 50% of the difference between its current interstate and intrastate rates.  Staff agrees with this approach, as dishNET was only providing access minutes for the final three months of the FCC fiscal year.  DishNET has also decided to decrease originating access rates to the same level in lieu of requesting the waivers standard with these dockets.  DishNET did, however, request a waiver of ARSD 20:10:27:07 with regard to submission of cost data in support of its rates.  Staff feels this waiver is not needed as cost information is not required with this filing.  Mr. Steffensen recommended no action is taken on the waiver request and that the Commission approve the tariff revisions with a July 3, 2012 effective date.

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

7.     TC12-099     In the Matter of the Filing by Midcontinent Communications for Approval of Revisions to its Access Service Tariff (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kathy Ford, Midcontinent Communications, requested that the Commission grant approval of revisions to its Access Service Tariff. Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval with an effective date of July 1, 2012 with staff's corrections.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the proposed tariff revisions with an effective date of July 1, 2012 with staff's corrections. Motion carried 3-0.

8.     TC12-102     In the Matter of the Filing by Midstate Telecom Service, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Tariff No. 2 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing Midstate Telecom Service, Inc., requested that the Commission defer the docket.

9.     TC12-103     In the Matter of the Filing by Sage Telecom, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Tariff No. 3 (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, requested that the docket be deferred until the next Commission meeting.
        
There being no further business, at the hour of 11:26 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
July 17, 2012