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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
September 11, 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: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Kara Semmler, and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Matthew Tysdal, Dave Jacobson, Ross Pedersen, and Patrick Steffensen; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Joy Irving and Sherry Dickerson

Also present were:
Bruce Hanson, Fort Randall Telephone Company; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing Midstate Telecom, Inc.; Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing Midstate Telecom, Inc.; Mark Benton, Midstate Telecom, Inc.; Steve Ellingston and Michelle Farris, SD Game, Fish, and Parks

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Ryan Thompson, Santel Communications Cooperative; Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer LLC, representing Budget PrePay, Inc., dba Budget Mobile; Jessica Fyhrie, Jesse Romford, and Mark Remer, Otter Tail Power Company; Steve Otto, WWC License LLC dba Verizon Wireless; Paul Bergmann, Long Lines Wireless, LLC; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson Palmer Nelson & Ashmore, LLP, representing RCC Minnesota, Inc. dba Verizon Wireless and WWC License LLC dba Verizon Wireless; Dick Johnson, West River Electric Association, Inc.; Walker Witt, Black Hills Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC; Melanie Acord, Suzan Stewart, Amanda Hosch, and John Palmolea, MidAmerican Energy Company; Andrew Isar, Miller Isar, Inc., representing Granite Telecommunications, LLC; Steve Meyer, Laura Julius, and Jim Adkins, Brookings Municipal Telephone dba Swiftel Communications and Brookings Municipal Telephone; Kevin Kouba, Otter Tail Power Company; Mary Sisak, Blooston, Mordkousky, Dickers, Duffy and Prendengast, LLP, representing Brookings Municipal Utilities dba Swiftel and Brookings Municipal Telephone; Jim Wilcox, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Todd Lantor and Marc Paul, Lukas, Nacegutierrez, & Sachs, LLP, presenting Budget PrePay, Inc., dba Budget Mobile

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on August 14, 2012, and August 28, 2012 (Staff: Joy Irving)

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the minutes of August 14, 2012, and August 28, 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 60 contacts since the last report was prepared for the August 28, 2012 Commission meeting.

9 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 20 of the contacts involved electrical services, 8 contacts involved natural gas service, 6 contacts involved cell phone service, 5 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 1 contact was related to One Call and 11 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

1,313 of the 1,345 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL12-049     In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of its Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Ms. Melanie Acord, MidAmerican Energy Company (MidAmerican), requested approval of its revised tariff sheet to update Rider No. 54 - Qualifying Cogeneration and Small Power Production Purchases tariff for its current avoided costs for a 12-month period. Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, recommended approval with an effective date of September 15, 2012.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the proposed tariff revisions to the company’s qualifying cogeneration and small power production avoided cost rates with an effective date of September 15, 2012. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL12-050     In the Matter of the Filing by Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of Revisions to its Tariff (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Jim Wilcox, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Xcel), requested approval to make changes to customer billing forms included in the current South Dakota Electric Rate tariff book. Mr. Matthew Tysdal, staff analyst, stated Xcel is in compliance with ARSD 20:10:17.03 and had made adjustments to the bill form based on staff recommendations. Mr. Tysdal recommended approval with additional changes to be made in a compliance filing by Xcel. Mr. Wilcox agreed with staff’s recommended changes.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the tariff revisions with staff’s recommendations.Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL12-051     In the Matter of the Filing by Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Ms. Jessica Fyhrie, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail), requested approval to remove the City of Elkton from Otter Tail’s Summary of Contracts with Deviations in its tariff book. Mr. Matthew Tysdal, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval.

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

4.     EL12-052     In the Matter of the Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between Otter Tail Power Company and Lake Region Electric Association, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Kevin Kouba, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail), requested approval of a Service Territory Exception Agreement between Otter Tail and Lake Region Electric Association (LREA). Mr. Kouba explained that the agreement will allow Otter Tail to provide three-phase service to the Blue Dog Hatchery located in LREA’s service territory, and will automatically terminate upon removal or abandonment of such services. Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission grant approval of an exception to assigned service territory rights and contingent upon the parties’ ability to obtain approval and acquire land rights from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and relevant private land owners to permit the necessary transmission and distribution infrastructure to be installed on the proposed route.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the requested service rights exception contingent upon the parties’ ability to obtain necessary approval and land rights from owner of Bureau of Indian Affairs and landowners. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     EL12-053     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between West River Electric Association, Inc. and Black Hills Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Ross Pedersen, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Ross Pedersen, staff analyst, stated the filing was part of the GIS mapping project to verify electric service territory boundaries in the state for input into the ArcMap software. The docket confirms the electric service territory boundaries shared by Black Hills Electric Cooperative and West River Electric Association. Additionally, staff and the companies included service rights exceptions for approval in the docket rather than opening a separate docket for the exceptions. Staff requested approval of the electric service territory agreement and approval of the exceptions identified.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the proposed electric service territory boundary agreement and approve the identified electric service territory exceptions. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     In the Matter of the Request for Certification Regarding the Use of Federal Universal Service Support in Dockets TC12-049, TC12-072, TC12-073, TC12-078, TC12-084, TC12-085, TC12-086, and TC12-087

     TC12-049     In the Matter of the Request of Fort Randall Telephone Company for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-072     In the Matter of the Request of RCC Minnesota, Inc. dba Verizon Wireless for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-073     In the Matter of the Request of WWC License LLC dba Verizon Wireless for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-078     In the Matter of the Request of Long Lines Wireless, LLC for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Staff recommended deferring the docket until the next Commission meeting.

     TC12-084     In the Matter of the Request of Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-085     In the Matter of the Request of Santel Communications Cooperative for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-086     In the Matter of the Request of Brookings Municipal Telephone dba Swiftel Communications for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-087     In the Matter of the Request of City of Brookings Municipal Telephone for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     Commissioner Nelson 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 dockets TC12-049, TC12-072, TC12-073, TC12-084, TC12-085, TC12-086, and TC12-087 and grant a waiver of the two year filing requirement in ARSD 20:10:32:43.02 in dockets TC12-072 and TC12-073. Motion carried 3-0.

The Commission deffered docket TC12-078 until the next Commission Meeting.

2.     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, recommended that the Commission grant Fort Randall Telephone Company its request for a waiver under ARSD 20:10:27:07 pursuant to ARSD 20:10:27:02 and further recommends that the Commission dismiss and close the docket.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the waiver and dismiss and close this docket. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     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)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket TC12-102. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; September 11, 2012, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/puc09112012.mp3. The matter was deferred.

4.     TC12-119     In the Matter of the Filing by Granite Telecommunications, LLC for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 3 (Transitional Rate) (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Andrew Isar, Miller Isar, Inc., representing Granite Telecommunications, LLC (Granite), requested that the Commission approve its switched exchange access tariff, Tariff No. 3. Mr. Dave Jacobson, staff analyst, recommended Commission approval with waivers of ARSD 20:10:29:10, 20:10:29:12, and 20:10:29:16.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the requested waiver and tariff revisions with the three rules outlined by staff.Motion carried 3-0.

5.     TC12-125     In the Matter of the Application of Budget PrePay, Inc., dba Budget Mobile for Designation as a Lifeline-only Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in Non-Rural Areas (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer LLC, representing Budget PrePay, Inc., dba Budget Mobile, requested Commission approval that Budget Mobile be designated as a Lifeline-only eligible telecommunications carrier throughout non-rural wire centers pursuant to SDCL §49-31-78. Budget Mobile further requested a waiver of two Commission rules. Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant of the Lifeline-only designation and to grant a waiver of the two rules.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant any waivers that were requested and designate the Company an ETC for the Designated Service Area for purposes of receiving federal Lifeline universal service support. Motion carried 3-0.

6.     TC12-126     In the Matter of the Approval of an Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Sprint Communications Company L.P. (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve the ICC VolP Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Sprint Communications Company L.P. pursuant to 47 U.S.C. §252.

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

There being no further business, at the hour of 11:25 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
September 11, 2012