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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
June 18, 2013, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Gary Hanson called the meeting to order. Present were: Commissioners: Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Kristen Edwards; Staff Analysts: Patrick Steffensen, Brittany Mehlhaff, Matthew Tysdal, Darren Kearney, Jason Simmons, Eric Paulson, Robin Meyerink, Brian Rounds, and David Henry; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Sherry Dickerson

Also present were:
Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Bob Mercer, Reporter; Jim Keck and Chuck Loomis, Black Hills Power, Inc.; and Kim Peterson, Brenda Sandahl, Jason Grenier, and Joni Fabre, Otter Tail Power Company

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Jerry Reisenauer, West River Cooperative Telephone Co.; Chris Sheets and Larry Thompson, Vantage Point, representing various ILECs; Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation; Lee Magnuson, Lindquist, Vennum, PLLP, representing Black Hills Power, Inc; Todd Brink, Black Hills Power, Inc; Andrew Moratzka, Stoel Rives LLP, representing Black Hills Industrial Intervenors; Dave Peterson, Chesapeake Regulatory Consultants Inc., representing SD Public Utilities Commission; Jim Wilcox, Paul Lehman, Kari Valley, and Emily Smith, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Lynn Kruse, Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc; Jessica Fyhrie and Ron Spangler, Otter Tail Power Company; Rodney Haag, Oahe Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Cary Roesel, Technologies Management, Inc., representing Zayo Group, LLC; and Leon Nowalsky, Nowalsky, Bronston & Gothard, APLLC, representing Consolidated Telecom, Inc.

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

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on May 21, 2013, and June 4, 2013 (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on May 21, 2013, and June 4, 2013. 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 83 contacts since the last report was prepared for the June 4, 2013 Commission meeting.

15 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 33 of the contacts involved electrical services, 5 contacts involved natural gas service, 7 contacts involved cell phone service, 8 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 2 contacts were related to One Call and 13 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

821 of the 854 complaints received in 2013 have been resolved.

Electric

     Dockets EL12-061 and EL12-062 were heard together.

1.     EL12-061     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Authority to Increase its Electric Rates (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Kristen Edwards)
     
2.     EL12-062     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for the Phase in of Rates Regarding Construction Financing Costs of Cheyenne Prairie Generating Station (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding dockets EL12-061 and EL12-062. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2013, June 18, 2013, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2013/puc06182013.mp3

     Commissioner Hanson moved to deny the Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Agreement for both SDSTA and Dakota Panel with respect to approval of the Settlement Agreement as a contested case settlement, since neither SDSTA nor Dakota Panel is a party to the case. He further moved to defer action until later in the process on approval, as contracts with deviations, of the Amendment to Electric Power Service Agreement between Black Hills Power, Inc. and SDSTA and the Restatement and Amendment of Electric Power Service Agreement between Black Hills Power and Dakota Panel, including the Settlement Agreement incorporated by reference therein.

     Commissioner Hanson further moved, as an alternative to approving the contracts with deviations at this time, to conditionally authorize and approve, commencing June 16, 2013, the implementation of the settlement rates set forth in the each of the contracts with deviations on an interim basis, subject to later approval of such contract with deviations by the Commission and subject to the following conditions:

1)  If the contract with deviations is not subsequently approved by the Commission, the rates to be paid by SDSTA and Dakota Panel for the period on and after June 16, 2013, shall be the rates ultimately approved in the rate case for the applicable class of service, with the difference between the interim rates paid by SDSTA and Dakota Panel and the rates ultimately approved in the rate case for the applicable class of service to be subject to true-up and refund or repayment, as the case may be, with interest at the rate approved in a refund order of the Commission after final decision in the general rate case; or

2)  If the contract with deviations is subsequently approved by the Commission with modification of the settlement rates to be paid by SDSTA and Dakota Panel, the rates to be paid by SDSTA and Dakota Panel for the period on and after June 16, 2013, shall be such contract with deviation rates as are ultimately approved by the Commission, with the difference between the conditionally approved interim rates and the contract with deviation rates  ultimately approved by the Commission to be subject to true-up and refund or repayment, as the case may be, with interest at the rate approved in the refund provisions of the Commission's order approving the contract with deviations with modified rates or, if refund is not ordered in such order, in the refund order of the Commission at the time of the general rate decision.

3)  This approval does not pre-determine a Commission decision in the current or future rate case proceedings regarding rate treatment of revenue requirement shortfalls resulting from rates approved as contracts with deviations. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL13-006     In the Matter of the Petition of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of its 2013 Transmission Cost Recovery Eligibility and Rate Adjustment (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

     Ms. Kari Valley, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Xcel), asked that the Commission approve its request and the associated tariff sheet on less than 30 days' notice to set the TCR rate at $0.00 for the remainder of 2013. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Xcel's request effective July 1, 2013.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve Xcel's request and the associated tariff sheet on less than 30 days' notice to set the TCR rate at $0.00 for the remainder of 2013 effective July 1, 2013, and to approve a bill message as sufficient with a bill insert not necessary Motion carried 3-0.

Dockets EL13-010, EL13-011, EL13-012, EL13-013, EL13-018, and EL13-019 were heard together.

4.     EL13-010     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Cam-Wal Electric Cooperative, Inc., and Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

5.     EL13-011     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Cam-Wal Electric Cooperative, Inc., and FEM Electric Association, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

6.     EL13-012     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Cam-Wal Electric Cooperative, Inc., and Oahe Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

7.     EL13-013     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between FEM Electric Association, Inc., and Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

10.     EL13-018     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. and Oahe Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

11.     EL13-019     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Oahe Electric Cooperative, Inc. and NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

     Mr. Matthew Tysdal, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the proposed electric service territory boundary agreement in the above dockets.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the proposed electric service territory boundary agreement in the above dockets. Motion carried 3-0.

8.     EL13-014     In the Matter of the Filing by Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of Revised Customer Information Booklet (Staff Analyst: Deb Gregg; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

     Ms. Jessica Fyhrie, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail), asked that the Commission approve its revised customer information booklet. Ms. Deb Gregg, Consumer Affairs Supervisor, recommended that the Commission grant approval of Otter Tail's request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the changes to the customer information sheet with the clarification that the particular language regarding customers on the early payment list read: “Customers placed on an early payment list are required to pay their bill by the due date on the bill”.  Motion carried 3-0.

9.     EL13-015     In the Matter of the Filing by Otter Tail Power Company Regarding Its 2012 Report and 2013 Energy Efficiency Plan Update (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds, Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

     Ms. Kim Peterson, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail), requested that the Commission approve its 2012 Energy Efficiency Plan Status Report and the proposed 2013 Energy Efficiency Plan Update and accompanying revised tariff sheet. Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant Otter Tail's request.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve Otter Tail's 2012 Energy Efficiency Plan Status Report and the Commission approve the proposed 2013 Energy Efficiency Plan Update and accompanying a revised tariff sheet including Otter Tail's requested financial incentive for 2012 as calculated in accordance with the Commission's prior orders approving the plan. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC01-098     In the Matter of Determining Prices for Unbundled Network Elements (UNEs) in Qwest Corporation's Statement of Generally Available Terms (SGAT). (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

     Mr. Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation (Qwest), asked that the Commission approve its Stipulation of Dismissal. Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission grant Qwest's request.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the Stipulation of Dismissal. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC13-024     In the Matter of the Filing by Zayo Group, LLC for Approval of its Access Services Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

     Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Zayo Group, LLC's (Zayo) request of its Initial Switched Access Services Tariff and grant the waivers of ARSD 20:10:29:10, 20:10:29:12, and 20:10:29:16.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the Access Services Tariff with Staff's changes and grant the waivers as requested. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC13-026     In the Matter of Study Area Boundaries for Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Commission Attorney: Rolayne Wiest)

     A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket TC13-026.  An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2013, June 18, 2013, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2013/puc06182013.mp3

     Commissioner Nelson moved that on behalf of the telephone companies operating in South Dakota that the Commission submit Appendix B to the FCC with the understanding it includes the shape files for South Dakota companies extending into other states when those states that are not going to be certifying to the FCC. Motion carried 3-0.

4.     TC13-034     In the Matter of the Application of Consolidated Telecom, Inc. dba Secured Technologies, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Long Distance Services as an Alternative Operator Service (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

     Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant Consolidated Telecom Inc., dba Secured Technologies Inc., a certificate of authority and grant the waivers as requested.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant a Certificate of Authority to Consolidated Telecom, Inc. dba Secured Technologies, Inc. and grant the waivers as requested. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 11:17 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

 

/S/Joy Lashley
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
June 18, 2013