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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
July 11, 2013, at 1:30 P.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Vice Chairman Chris Nelson called the meeting to order. Present were: Commissioner: Kristie Fiegen; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorney: 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

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Chairman Gary Hanson; Todd Brink, Jim Keck, Don Martinez, and Melanie Toney, Black Hills Power, Inc.; Jeffrey Decker and Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Ron Spangler, and Jessica Fyhrie, Otter Tail Power Company; Scott Moore, FEM Electric Association, Inc.; Stephanie Bosch, and Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Paul Feldman, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C., representing, Sage Telecom Communications, LLC; Sherri Flatt, Sage Telecom, Inc.; Andrew Isar, Miller Isar, Inc., representing Granite Telecommunications, LLC; Melissa Marks, Knology Community Telephone dba WOW!; Bill Hunt, dishNET Wireline L.L.C.; Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications; Don Price, MCImetro Access Transmission Services LLC dba Verizon Access Transmission; Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing Fort Randall Telephone Company; and Wayne Johnson, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on July 2, 2013 (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on July 2, 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 47 contacts since the last report was prepared for the July 2, 2013 Commission meeting.

15 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 11 of the contacts involved electrical services, 3 contacts involved natural gas service, 7 contacts involved cell phone service, 5 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 1 contact was related to Grain Warehouse and 5 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

931 of the 979 complaints received in 2013 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL11-002     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Approval of Energy Efficiency Programs, Tariffs, and Cost Recovery Mechanism (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds)

Mr. Jim Keck, Black Hills Power, Inc. (BHP), stated that on July 7, 2013, the Commission issued an order approving BHP's Energy Efficiency Solutions Plan (EESP), and on June 7, 2013, BHP filed an Application for Adjustment in Rates and associated tariff sheet requesting a reduction in the current rates to reduce the over-collections that have been occurring. Mr. Brian Rounds, PUC Staff, recommended approval of the adjustment in rates and the associated tariff sheet which contains an effective date of August 1, 2013.

      Commissioner Hanson moved to approve BHP's request for adjustment in rates and associated tariff revised tariff sheet. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL12-024     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jeffrey Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NWE), stated that on March 27, 2012, the company filed an application for approval to revise its Rate No. 73 – Small Qualifying Facility Rider (Occasional delivery energy service) and Rate No. 74 – Small Qualifying Facility Rider (Time of delivery energy service) tariff rates to reflect prices based on its 2012 test year data. NWE filed an updated application on June 18, 2013, based on a revised method of avoided cost calculation and associated tariff sheets with an effective date of August 1, 2013, for the revised rate schedules and tariff sheets. Mr. Matthew Tysdal, PUC Staff, recommended approval of the revised rates and the associated tariff sheets.

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

3.     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), stated that on June 28, 2013, Otter tail filed an Application for Reconsideration of the Commission's June 18, 2013, Decision, as well as a revised South Dakota Customer Information brochure and associated tariff page to reflect the revised language in the brochure. Ms. Fyhrie stated that Otter Tail modified the South Dakota Customer Information brochure after hearing the discussion at the June 18, 2013, Commission meeting and discussions with Commission staff and requested approval of the brochure and revised tariff page. Ms. Kristen Edwards, PUC staff, recommended that reconsideration be granted and that the revisions to the brochure and tariff page be approved.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant reconsideration of the Commission's June 18, 2013, decision and to approve Otter Tail's South Dakota Customer Information brochure and revised tariff page containing the revised language proposed by Otter Tail in its June 28, 2013, filing. Motion carried 3-0.
 
4.     EL13-022     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between FEM Electric Association, Inc. and NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Matthew Tysdal, Commission staff, stated that this filing is part of the GIS mapping project to verify all SD electric service territory boundaries for input into the ArcMap software. Mr. Tysdal further stated that staff recently filed a revised Exhibit A to correct a number of errors that were found in the legal descriptions after review, to which corrections the parties have agreed. Staff recommended approval conditioned upon the companies filing a newly executed agreement with a revised Exhibit A contained the agreed legal description corrections. Mr. Scott Moore, FEM Electric Association, stated that he had reviewed the corrections to Exhibit A and agrees with them and requested approval. Mr. Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern Energy, also indicated that he had seen the corrections to Exhibit A and agrees with them and requested approval.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the territory agreement between FEM and NorthWestern subject to the condition that the parties' re-execute and re-file the agreement with the corrected Exhibit A filed by Staff. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     EL13-023     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for Approval of Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., stated that Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU) filed for approval of revisions to its Occasional Power Purchase Non-Time Differentiated Rate 95, Short-Term Power Purchase Time Differentiated Rate 96, and Long-Term Power Purchase Time Differentiated Rate 97 tariff sheets. Ms. Aberle further stated that a review of its avoided costs is made annually and filings for tariff revisions are made when such review indicates that current rates do not reflect the most recent avoided cost analysis. MDU requested approval of the tariff revisions. Ms. Robin Meyerink, PUC Staff, recommended approval of the tariff revisions with an effective date of July 19, 2013.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the proposed tariff revisions with an effective date of July 19, 2013. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC13-036     In the Matter of the Application for Transfer of Certificates of Authority from Sage Telecom, Inc. to Sage Telecom Communications, LLC (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Eric Paulson, PUC Staff, stated that Sage Telecom Communications, LLC has requested waivers for ARSD 20:10:24:02(9) and ARSD 20:10:32:03(12) which requires submission of the applicant's most recent 12 month financial statements. Sage Telecom Communications, LLC has however included TSC Acquisition Corp. and Sage Telecom Inc.'s previous 12 months financial statements. Staff recommended granting of the waivers and approving the transfer of the Certificate of Authority, for both local exchange and Interexchange services with a $25,000 bond protection for prepaid services and subject to rural safeguards. Mr. Paul Feldman, representing Sage Telecom Communications, LLC, asked for approval of the transfer of the Certificates of Authority

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the requests for waivers to ARSD 20:10:24:02(9) and ARSD 20:10:32:03(12) and approve the transfer of Certificates of Authority subject to rural safeguards. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC13-041     In the Matter of the Filing by Granite Telecommunications, LLC for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 3 (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Eric Paulson, PUC Staff, stated that on May 15, 2013, Granite Telecommunications, LLC (Granite) filed revisions to its access services tariff bringing it into compliance with the July 1, 2013 interstate access rate benchmarking requirement in Section 51.911(c) of the FCC rules. Granite's proposed access rate is set below that of the ILEC, CenturyLink's, composite access rate. Staff recommended approval of Granite's revisions to its access services tariff. Mr. Andrew Isar, representing Granite, asked for approval of the revised tariff pages. Ms. Rolayne Wiest, PUC Commission Counsel, stated that the check sheet should be Fourth Revised Sheet No. 2 not Sheet No. 3 and asked that the company refile that tariff page. Mr. Isar will refile the Sheet No. 2.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the requested tariff revisions with the filing of new tariff page Sheet No. 2. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC13-042     In the Matter of the Filing by Knology Community Telephone, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Robin Meyerink, PUC Staff, stated on May 20, 2013, Knology Community Telephone, Inc. (Knology) filed the following tariff changes with an effective date of July 2, 2013: Check Sheet Second Revised Page 1 and Section 4 Second Revised Page 1. Specifically, the tariff revisions reflect changes to terminating rates. These changes bring Knology's intrastate rates to parity with the current NECA Interstate Rates. Staff recommended approval of the tariff changes with an effective date of July 2, 2013. Melissa Marks, Knology, asked for approval of the tariff changes.

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

4.     TC13-045     In the Matter of the Filing by dishNET Wireline L.L.C. for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 2 (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Eric Paulson, PUC Staff, stated that on May 30, 2013, dishNET Wireline L.L.C. (dishNET) filed revisions to its access services tariff bringing it into compliance with the July 1, 2013 interstate access rate benchmarking requirement in Section 51.911(c) of the FCC rules. dishNet's proposed access rate is set at parity with that of the ILEC, CenturyLink's, composite access rate. Staff recommended approval of dishNET's revisions to its access services tariff with an effective date of July 1, 2013. Mr. Bill Hunt, dishNET, asked for approval of the tariff revisions.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the requested tariff revisions with an effective date of July 1, 2013. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     TC13-048     In the Matter of the Filing by Midcontinent Communications for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Darren Kearney, PUC Staff, stated that on May 31, 2013, the Commission received a filing from Midcontinent Communications (Midcontinent) for changes to its Access Services Tariff. The filing complies with the July 1, 2013 interstate access rate benchmarking (step down) requirements set forth by the Federal Communications Commission's November 18, 2011, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in WC Docket Nos. 10-90, etc. (FCC 11-161). Midcontinent set all of its terminating intrastate switched access rates at parity with the corresponding interstate rates. Staff recommended approval of the tariff revisions. Ms. Rolayne Wiest, PUC Commission Counsel, stated that on Page 54 will need to amend the date and file with the Commission. Ms. Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications, asked for approval of the tariff pages and will file a revised tariff page.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the requested tariff changes with Staff's requested change on Page 54. Motion carried 3-0.

6.     TC13-049     In the Matter of the Filing by MCImetro Access Transmission Services LLC dba Verizon Access Transmission Services for Approval of Revisions to its Access Service Tariff No. 2 (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Darren Kearney, PUC Staff, stated that on June 7, 2013, the Commission received a filing from MCImetro Access Transmission Services LLC d/b/a Verizon Access Transmission Services (Verizon Access) for changes to its Access Services Tariff. The filing complies with the July 1, 2013, interstate access rate benchmarking (step down) requirements set forth by the Federal Communication Commission's November 18, 2011, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in WC Docket Nos. 10-90, etc. (FCC 11-161). Verizon Access now sets the Direct Connect and Tandem Connect terminating intrastate rate elements at parity with the ILEC's interstate rates. Staff recommended approval of the tariff revisions. Mr. Don Price, Verizon Access, asked for approval of the tariff revisions.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the requested tariff changes with an effective date of July 1, 2013. Motion carried 3-0.

7.     TC13-051     In the Matter of the Filing by Fort Randall Telephone Company for Approval of Revisions to its Intrastate Switched Access Tariff (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Eric Paulson, PUC Staff, stated that on June 14, 2013, Fort Randall Telephone Company (Fort Randall) filed revisions to its access services tariff based on Federal Communications Commission's Intercarrier Compensation Reform order, FCC 11-161. Fort Randall is a member of the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc. (NECA) and Fort Randall's proposed terminating access rate changes are set to mirror the respective rates of the NECA interstate tariff No. 5. Fort Randall also requests waivers of ARSD 20:10:29:10, 20:10:29:12 and 20:10:29:16 which state that originating and terminating access rates shall be equal. Staff recommended approval of Fort Randall Telephone Company's revisions and waivers to its access services tariff. Ms. Marlene Bennett, representing Fort Randall Telephone Company, asked for approval of the tariff changes. Commissioner Nelson stated that the waivers were granted in a previous docket.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the proposed tariff changes with understanding that the requested waivers were granted in a previous docket. Motion carried 3-0.

8.     TC13-053     In the Matter of the Approval of a Wireless Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and 365 Wireless, LLC (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, stated that the agreement was properly filed, properly executed, and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions. No comments were filed. Staff recommended the Commission approve the amendment to the Interconnection Agreement. Mr. Wayne Johnson, CenturyLink QC, asked for approval of the Interconnection Agreement.

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

9.     TC13-054     In the Matter of the Approval of an Four-Party Transit Traffic Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and 365 Wireless, LLC (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, stated that the amendment was properly filed, properly executed, and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions. No comments were filed. Staff recommended the Commission approve the amendment to the Interconnection Agreement. Mr. Wayne Johnson, CenturyLink QC, asked for approval of the amendment to the Interconnection Agreement.

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

There being no further business, at the hour of 2:08 p.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

 

/S/Tina Douglas
Tina Douglas
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
July 11, 2013