Consumer Assistance | Energy | Telecom | Warehouse | Commission Actions | Miscellaneous

arrow Commission Minutes| previous page


South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
September 25, 2012, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Commissioner Kristie Fiegen called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commissioner: Gary Hanson; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Kristen Edwards, and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Matthew Tysdal, Dave Jacobson, Ross Pedersen, Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber, and Patrick Steffensen; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Joy Irving and Sherry Dickerson

Also present were:
Jim Wilcox and Kari Valley, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Darla Rogers and Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing Midstate Telecom, Inc. and Local Exchange Carrier's Association; Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing Midstate Telecom, Inc.; Mark Benton, Midstate Telecom, Inc.; Bill VanCamp, Olinger, Lovald, McCahren & Reimers, P.C., representing AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Chairman Chris Nelson; Ryan Thompson, Santel Communications Cooperative; Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer LLC, representing James Valley Wireless, LLC; James Groft, James Valley Wireless, LLC; Andrew Isar, Miller Isar, Inc., representing Granite Telecommunications, LLC; Anthony Harris and Pete Beithon, Otter Tail Power Company; Paul Bergmann, Long Lines Wireless, LLC; Jo Shotwell, CHR Solutions, Inc., representing Local Exchange Carrier's Association; Kali Reeves, Legal Assistant for Lance J.M. Steinhart, P.C., representing Conectado, Inc.; Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation, dba NorthWestern Energy; Sharon Thomas, Ymax Communications Corp.; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLC, representing Shetek Wind Inc.; and Tom Melone, Shetek Wind Inc.

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on September 11, 2012 (Staff: Joy Irving)

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the minutes of September 11, 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 80 contacts since the last report was prepared for the September 11, 2012 Commission meeting.

12 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 20 of the contacts involved electrical services, 8 contacts involved natural gas service, 12 contacts involved cell phone service, 13 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 1 contact was related to One Call and 14 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

1,386 of the 1,425 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL12-021     In the Matter of the Petition of Otter Tail Power Company for Approval to Revise its Fuel Adjustment Clause Rider to Include Emission Costs (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Peter Beithon, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail), requested Commission approval to dismiss its petition and close the docket. Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission dismiss and close the docket.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to dismiss and close the docket.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)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL12-046. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; September 25, 2012, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/puc09252012.mp3

     Commissioner Nelson moved to deny Shetek Winds, Inc.'s petition to intervene. Motion carried 2-1. Commissioner Hanson dissented.

3.     EL12-054     In the Matter of the Petition of Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of its 2013 Transmission Cost Recovery Eligibility and Rate Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Ross Pedersen, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, requested that the Commission assess a filing fee in the amount of up to $50,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date, and suspend the imposition of the tariff for 180 days beyond September 4, 2012. Mr. Soye also requested that the Commission give the Executive Director authority to enter necessary consulting contracts.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to assess a filing fee in an amount not to exceed $50,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date, to suspend the imposition of the tariff for 180 days beyond September 4, 2012, and to give the Executive Director authority to enter necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.     NG12-005     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of its Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern Energy), requested that the Commission approve its tariff revisions. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated that on August 24, 2012, NorthWestern Energy filed revisions to its natural gas transportation tariff. Mr. Steffensen explained this is a compliance filing to annually adjust the retention percentage for NorthWestern Energy's South Dakota distribution system. He stated that the updates are consistent with past annual filings and that NorthWestern Energy has seen a decrease in the lost and unaccounted for gas percentage. Therefore, he recommended approval of the tariff changes.

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

Telecommunications

1.     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)

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

     Commissioner Hanson 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.Motion carried 3-0.

2.     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 25, 2012, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/puc09252012.mp3.

     Commissioner Nelson moved that the Commission approve Midstate's transitional terminating access rates as filed in this docket. Commissioner Nelson moved that Midstate be required to refile the tariff with the originating rate corrected to the 6.042 cent rate effective as of the date that the cost study was withdrawn. Commissioner Nelson further moved that the Commission grant the waiver of rules requiring equal originating and terminating rates as requested by Midstate.  Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC12-104     In the Matter of the Filing by Ymax Communications Corp. for Approval of Revisions to its Tariff No. 2 (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Sharon Thomas, Ymax Communications Corp. (Ymax), requested that the Commission dismiss and close the docket. Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission dismiss and close the docket with the understanding that Ymax will file a new docket in the near future that will address rate changes. Mr. Bill VanCamp, representing AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc, did not object to Ymax closing its docket.

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

4.     TC12-115     In the Matter of the Filing by Local Exchange Carriers Association, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Darla Rogers, representing Local Exchange Carrier's Association (LECA), requested that the Commission approve LECA's Access Service Tariff No. 1 to modify tariff language for the Identification and Rating of VoIP-PSTN Traffic to be in compliance with the FCC Order. Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval.

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

5.     TC12-120     In the Matter of the Filing by Granite Telecommunications, LLC for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 3 (VoIP) (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Andrew Isar, representing Granite Telecommunications, LLC, (Granite), requested that the Commission approve Granite filing as it proposes to modify tariff language to comply with the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, in Docket Nos. WC Docket No. 10-90, et al., FCC 11-161 (the ICC/USF Transformational Order) by implementing provisions governing Voice over Internet Protocol telephony – Public Switched Telephone Network (VoIP-PSTN) Traffic. Mr. Dave Jacobson, staff analyst, stated that staff requested clarifying language to Granite's tariff and with that change Mr. Jacobson recommended that the Commission grant approval. Ms. Rolayne Wiest, Commission Counsel, recommended that the effective date of the tariffs be July 27, 2012.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the proposed tariff revisions with an effective date of July 27, 2012. Motion carried 3-0.

6.     TC12-122     In the Matter of the Application of Conectado, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Long Distance Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Kali Reeves, representing Conectado, Inc., (Conectado) requested that the Commission grant Conectado a certificate of authority to provide interexchange telecommunication services. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated that on August 2, 2012, Conectado filed an application for a certificate of authority to provide interexchange services in South Dakota, according to the Commission's administrative rules. Mr. Steffensen recommended that the Commission grant the Certificate of Authority to Conectado with the following conditions: 1) Conectado is not to offer any prepaid services, including prepaid calling cards, 2) Conectado is not to accept or require deposits or advance payments without prior approval from the Commission, and 3) the Commission grant the requested waiver of ARSD 20:10:24:02(9), as Conectado does not compile a Cash Flow Statement.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Certificate of Authority to Conectado, Inc. with staff's conditions. Motion carried 3-0.

7.     TC12-128     In the Matter of the Approval of an Intercarrier Compensation Bill and Keep Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Sancom, Inc. dba Mitchell Telecom and City of Brookings Municipal Utilities – Telephone Division dba Swiftel Communications (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve the amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Sancom, Inc. dba Mitchell Telecom and City of Brookings Municipal Utilities - Telephone Division dba Swiftel Communications. Ms. Cremer stated that the amendment was properly filed, properly executed, and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions, and no comments were filed.

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

8.     TC12-130     In the Matter of the Approval of an Intercarrier Compensation Bill and Keep Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Verizon Wireless (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve the amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC (CenturyLink) and Verizon Wireless. Ms. Cremer stated the amendment was properly filed, properly executed, and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions, and no comments were filed.

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

9.     TC12-131     In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of a Reciprocal Transport and Termination Agreement Between Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. and James Valley Wireless, LLC (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jim Cremer, representing James Valley Wireless, LLC, (James Valley), asked that the Commission approve the Reciprocal Interconnection, Transport and Termination Agreement between James Valley and Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. filed pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 252.   

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the Reciprocal Interconnection, Transport and Termination Agreement. Motion carried 3-0.

10.     TC12-132     In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of the ICC VoIP Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Broadvox-CLEC, LLC for the State of South Dakota (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve the amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC (CenturyLink) and Broadvox-CLEC, LLC (Broadvox). Ms. Cremer stated the amendment was properly filed, properly executed, and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions, and no comments were filed.

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

There being no further business, at the hour of 10:55 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
September 25, 2012