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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
November 22, 2013, at 9:30 A.M. CST
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 Attorneys: Kristen Edwards and Karen Cremer; Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, David Henry, Jason Simmons, Eric Paulson, Robin Meyerink, Darren Kearney, Brian Rounds, and Patrick Steffensen; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; Sigrid Wald, Communications Specialist; and Staff: Sherry Dickerson

Also present were:
Fay Jandreau, Midstate Communications, Inc.; Thomas Hart, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP; Jim Wilcox, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; and Jeff Carmon, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Chairman Gary Hanson; Meredith Moore, Cutler & Donahoe LLP, representing Midstate Communications, Inc. and Midstate Telecom, Inc.; Jason Topp and Mike Williams, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC; Casey Jacobson, Basin Electric Power Cooperative; Talbot  Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson, & Ashmore, LLP, representing Midcontinent Communications; Marlene Bennett and Kim Stumpp, Consortia Consulting, representing Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc., Roberts County Telephone Cooperative Association, and RC Communications, Inc.; Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer LLC, representing James Valley Wireless, LLC and James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company; Patrick Crocker, Crocker & Crocker, P.C., representing BCN TELECOM, INC.; Chris Zirpel, Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc.; Jason Hendricks, RT Communications Inc.; Tracy Bandemer, Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc.; Kari Valley and Kelsey Genung, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing RT Communications Inc., Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority, Roberts County Telephone Cooperative Association and RC Communications, Inc.; Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications; Wade Behm, Lloyd Companies; Ronda Miller, representing West River Cooperative Telephone Company; Colle Nash, West River Cooperative Telephone Company; Richard Helsper, Glover & Helsper, representing City of Brookings Municipal Telephone dba Swiftel Communications; Jim Adkins, City of Brookings Municipal Telephone dba Swiftel Communications; Richard Boudria, BCN TELECOM, INC.; Scott Bostrom, RC Communications, Inc., dba RC Services Association, Inc.; and Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority

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

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Ad Hoc Commission Meeting Held on October 31, 2013, and the Commission Meeting Held on November 5, 2013 (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the minutes of the Ad Hoc Commission Meeting held on October 31, 2013, and the Commission Meeting held on November 5, 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 77 contacts since the last report was prepared for the November 5, 2013, Commission meeting.

21 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 22 of the contacts involved electrical services, 3 of the contacts involved natural gas service, 2 contacts involved gas and electric service, 5 contacts involved cell phone service, 14 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 10 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

1,694 of the 1,713 complaints received in 2013 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL09-015     In the Matter of the Application by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. for an Energy Conversion Facility Siting Permit for the Deer Creek Station Project Combined-Cycle Natural Gas Energy Conversion Facility and Associated Infrastructure, Including a Water Supply System and Electric Transmission System. (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Hydrocarbon Pipeline

1.     HP09-002     In the Matter of the Application by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. for an Energy Conversion Facility Siting Permit for a Natural Gas Pipeline to Support the Deer Creek Station Project. (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Casey Jacobson, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (Basin), stated that the Deer Creek Station went commercial in early August 2012. On September 27, 2012, Basin filed a post-construction road repair and restoration condition compliance report and agreements with the governmental entities having roads affected by construction. When those were filed there was one remaining issue with Brookings County, and that issue was resolved in early November 2013. There have been no objections to the request for release of the construction bonds.

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended granting the release of the construction bonds.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant the request for release of construction bonds and authorize the Executive Director or General Counsel to execute any necessary release documents to release Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America Bond No. 105425850 and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America Bond No. 105425851 in Docket EL09-015 and HP09-002. Motion carried 3-0.

Electric

2.     EL13-017     In the Matter of the Petition of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of Its 2012 Demand Side Management Report and 2014 Proposed Demand Side Management Plan (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds, Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL13-017. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2013, November 22, 2013, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2013/puc11222013.mp3.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the Company's DSM Status Report and 2014 DSM program changes with a January 1, 2014, effective date except for the budget flexibility of 10 percent above approved budget. Motion Failed 2-1.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the Company's DSM Status Report and 2014 DSM program changes with a January 1, 2014, effective date. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to reconsider the Commission's Decision made on November 5, 2013, in Docket EL13-016. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL13-034     In the Matter of the Notification Pursuant to ARSD 20:10:26:04(6) by Lloyd Companies regarding Western Surety Building's HVAC System, Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Wade Behm, Lloyd Companies, asked the Commission to approve its request for a finding of exemption regarding metering requirements for a planned renovation of the Western Surety Building, Sioux Falls, S.D. Mr. Behm stated that the Western Surety building is being served by a central HVAC plant. The HVAC system consists of a chiller, heat exchanger, piping loops, and heat pumps. It is a very efficient system, but metering this system individually would not be practical.

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission determine that the electric system of the building qualifies for an exemption from the individual metering requirements.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to determine that the electric utility system of the building qualifies for an exemption from individual metering requirements under 20:10:26:04(6).Motion carried 3-0.

Commissioner Nelson directed the Commission's General Counsel to research what authority the Commission could lawfully exercise under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, as amended, and South Dakota state law to repeal or amend some or all of the rules governing master metering set forth in ARSD Chapter 20:10:26 and report his findings to the Commission as a discussion item at its next regular meeting on December 3, 2013.

Telecommunications

1.      In the Matter of the Request for Certification Regarding the Use of Federal Universal Service Support in Dockets TC13-056, TC13-058, TC13-066, TC13-068, TC13-072, TC13-077, TC13-078, TC13-079, TC13-081, TC13-083, TC13-085, TC13-090, TC13-092, TC13-093, TC13-095, TC13-096 and TC13-097.

     TC13-056     In the Matter of the Request of West River Cooperative Telephone Company for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer) 

Mr. Colle Nash, West River Cooperative Telephone Company (West River Cooperative) requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that West River Cooperative is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Ms. Robin Meyerink, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating West River Cooperative is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-058     In the Matter of the Request of Midcontinent Communications for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson, & Ashmore, LLP, representing Midcontinent Communications, requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that Midcontinent Communications is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Ms. Robin Meyerink, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating Midcontinent Communications is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-066     In the Matter of the Request of Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Tracy Bandemer, Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative (ITC), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that ITC is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating ITC is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-068     In the Matter of the Request of Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. fka SSTELECOM, Inc. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Tracy Bandemer, Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc., requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. fka SSTELECOM, Inc. is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. fka SSTELECOM, Inc. is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-072     In the Matter of the Request of Knology of the Black Hills, LLC for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating Black Hills, LLC is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company. 

     TC13-077     In the Matter of the Request of Midstate Communications, Inc. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Meredith Moore, Cutler & Donahoe LLP, representing Midstate Communications, Inc. (Midstate Communications), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that Midstate Communications is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Ms. Robin Meyerink, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating Midstate Communications is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-078     In the Matter of the Request of Midstate Telecom, Inc. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Meredith Moore, Cutler & Donahoe LLP, representing Midstate Telecom, Inc. (Midstate Telecom), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that Midstate Telecom is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Ms. Robin Meyerink, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating of Midstate Telecom is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-079     In the Matter of the Request of Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. for Certification Regarding Its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. (Kennebec), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that Kennebec is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating Kennebec is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-081     In the Matter of the Request of James Valley Wireless, LLC for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. James Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer LLC, representing James Valley Wireless, LLC (James Valley Wireless), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that James Valley Wireless is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating James Valley Wireless is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-083     In the Matter of the Request of James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. James Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer LLC, representing James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company (James Valley Cooperative), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that James Valley Cooperative is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating James Valley Cooperative is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-085     In the Matter of the Request of Northern Valley Communications, L.L.C. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. James Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer LLC, representing Northern Valley Communications, L.L.C. (Northern Valley), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that Northern Valley is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating Northern Valley is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-090     In the Matter of the Request of Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jeff Carmon, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC (CenturyLink), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that CenturyLink is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating CenturyLink is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-093     In the Matter of the Request of RT Communications Inc. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing RT Communications Inc. (RT), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that RT is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Jason Hendricks, RT Communications Inc., stated that RT is intending to provide broadband to customers in South Dakota but will not be extending this service in the near future but hopefully will be able to provide this service in the future.

Ms. Robin Meyerink, staff analyst, requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that RT is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-095     In the Matter of the Request of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority for Certification Regarding Its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority (CRSTTA), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that CRSTTA is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Ms. Robin Meyerink, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating CRSTTA is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     TC13-096     In the Matter of the Request of Roberts County Telephone Cooperative Association and RC Communications, Inc. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Roberts County Telephone Cooperative Association and RC Communications, Inc. (Roberts County & RC Communications), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that Roberts County & RC Communications are in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the companies.

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating Roberts County & RC Communications, Inc. are in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the companies.

     TC13-097     In the Matter of the Request of RC Communications, Inc., dba RC Services for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing RC Communications, Inc., dba RC Services (RC Services), requested the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC that RC Services is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission issue a certification to the FCC and USAC indicating RC Services is in compliance with 47 U.S.C. Section 254(e) and should receive all federal universal service support determined for distribution to the company.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to provide a certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the Universal Service Administration Company regarding the use of Federal Universal Service Support in each of the above dockets. Motion carried 3-0.

     TC13-092     In the Matter of the Request of Knology Community Telephone, Inc. for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, stated a company representative from Knology Community Telephone, Inc. (Knology) was unavailable to participate in the meeting. The Commission stated that they had questions for Knology regarding its filing. As such, the Commission deferred the matter until the December 3, 2013 meeting and requested that a representative from Knology appear before the Commission at that time.

2.     TC13-105     In the Matter of the Application of BCN TELECOM, INC. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket TC13-105. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2013, November 22, 2013, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2013/puc11222013.mp3

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant BCN TELECOM, INC.'s request for a certificate of authority with the condition that BCN TELECOM, INC. not offer any prepaid services for retail purposes including prepaid calling cards and not accept or require any deposits or advance payments without prior approval of the Commission, and subject to rural safeguards. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC13-111     In the Matter of the Filing by Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC's Petition for Approval of its Revisions to its Performance Assurance Plan (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket TC13-111. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2013, November 22, 2013, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2013/puc11222013.mp3

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC's revisions to its Performance Assurance Plan and Performance Indicator Definitions effective January 1, 2014 and deemed all existing interconnection agreements that currently contain the Performance Assurance Plan be modified to incorporate these revisions, effective January 1, 2014, without further filings and approvals. Motion carried 3-0.

4.     TC13-117     In the Matter of the Application of City of Brookings Municipal Telephone dba Swiftel Communications for an Amended Certificate of Authority (Staff Analyst: Robin Meyerink; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Richard Helsper, Glover & Helsper, P.C., representing City of Brookings Municipal Telephone dba Swiftel Communications (Swiftel), asked that the Commission approve the amendment to their Certificate of Authority, based on new telephone service territory resulting from the annexation of land by the City of Brookings dba Swiftel Communications.

Ms. Robin Meyerink, staff analyst, stated that Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative (ITC) agreed with the revisions to its service territory. Staff recommended granting the revisions to the local exchange service territory and also granting the waivers of ARSD 20:10:32:03 (1-8); (10-22); and (24). Ms. Rolayne Wiest asked if ITC's Certificate of Authority will be amended. Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, agreed that ITC's Certificate of Authority should be amended as well as Swiftel's Certificate of Authority.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the revisions to the local exchange service territory and grant the requested waivers. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     TC13-119     In the Matter of the Approval of an ICC VoIP Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Zayo Group, LLC (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Jason Topp Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC (CenturyLink), asked for approval of the Amendment.

Ms. Karen Cremer, 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.

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

There being no further business, at the hour of 11:07 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/S/Tina Douglas
Tina Douglas
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
November 22, 2013