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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
October 9, 2012, at 1:30 P.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Chris Nelson called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Kristen Edwards; Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Matthew Tysdal, and Patrick Steffensen; Leah Mohr, Deputy Executive Director; and Staff: Sherry Dickerson

Also present were:
Michael Uda, Uda Law Firm, P.C., representing Oak Tree Energy LLC; Bill Makens and Michael Makens, Oak Tree Energy LLC; Bleau LaFave, Al Brogan, Dori Quam and Tim Olson, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Commissioners: Kristie Fiegen and Gary Hanson; Yvette Lafrentz, Doney Law Firm, representing Oak Tree Energy LLC; Pat Makens, Oak Tree Energy LLC; Al Brogan and Tim Olson, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; and Michael Uda, Uda Law Firm, P.C., representing Oak Tree Energy LLC

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on September 25, 2012. (Staff: Joy Irving)

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the minutes of September 25, 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 September 25, 2012, Commission meeting.

     10 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 13 of the contacts involved electrical services, 5 contacts involved natural gas service, 1 contact was related to gas and electric service, 3 contacts involved cell phone service, 9 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 19 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

     1,446 of the 1,485 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL11-006     In the Matter of the Complaint by Oak Tree Energy LLC against NorthWestern Energy for refusing to enter into a Purchase Power Agreement (Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding Docket EL11-006. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site at www.puc.sd.gov under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; October 9, 2012, for Docket EL11-006, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/PUC10092012.mp3. A transcript of the proceeding will be available upon receipt by the Commission on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions, Commission Dockets, Electric Dockets, 2011 Electric Dockets, Docket EL11-006, or directly at http://puc.sd.gov/Dockets/Electric/2011/el11-006.aspx.

     Chairman Nelson moved to deny Oak Tree's Motion for Partial Reconsideration with respect to the use of the hybrid method to determine avoided cost. Motion carried 3-0.

     Chairman Nelson moved to grant Oak Tree's Motion for Partial Reconsideration with respect to the use of current market conditions and projections in determining proper natural gas inputs and proper electric market rates. Motion carried 3-0.

     Chairman Nelson moved to deny NorthWestern's Application for Reconsideration with respect to Finding and Conclusion 4 regarding Oak Tree's creation of a legally enforceable obligation on February 25, 2011. Motion carried 3-0.

     Chairman Nelson moved to grant NorthWestern's Application for Reconsideration with respect to interim Findings and Conclusions 2 and 3 on the grounds that carbon cost forecasts were too speculative as of the LEO date and remain so at this time to justify their inclusion as inputs into the avoided cost determination and that carbon costs should therefore have a value of zero and to deny Oak Tree's Motion for Partial Reconsideration with respect to the use of the Land's Energy carbon emissions costs on the grounds that the issue will become moot as result of the granting of NorthWestern's request to disallow the inclusion of carbon costs. Motion carried 2-1 with Commissioner Fiegen dissenting.

There being no further business, at the hour of 1:47 p.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
October 9, 2012