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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
January 3, 2017, at 1:30 P.M. CST
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Chris Nelson called the meeting to order. Present were: Commissioner: Kristie Fiegen; Commission Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Adam de Hueck; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Amanda Reiss and Kristen Edwards; Staff Analysts: Eric Paulson, Patrick Steffensen, Darren Kearney, Joseph Rezac, Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber, and Lorena Reichert; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Katlyn Gustafson.

Also present:
Penny Nelson

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Commissioner: Gary Hanson; and Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy.

Administration

1.     Approval of the minutes of the Gross Receipts Tax Hearing and Commission meeting held on December 20, 2016. (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the minutes of the Gross Receipts Tax Hearing and Commission meeting held on December 20, 2016. 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 100 contacts since the last report was prepared for the December 20, 2016, Commission meeting.

Twelve contacts involved telecommunication services, 20 contacts involved electrical services, 47 contacts were related to natural gas services, eight contacts were related to wireless service, one contact was related to TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline, four contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and eight contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

Complaints received in 2014: 1,914 of the 1,916 have been resolved.

Complaints received in 2016: 1,581 of the 1,598 have been resolved.

Natural Gas

1.     NG16-015     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of a Contract with Deviations with Prairie Ethanol, LLC and Removal of South Dakota Wheat Growers Contract with Deviations (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern), asked that the Commission approve the contract with deviations with Prairie Ethanol, LLC effective January 3, 2017. Mr. Decker also asked the Commission to approve the associated tariff sheet on less than 30 days’ notice, effective January 3, 2017. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the contract with deviations with Prairie Ethanol, LLC effective January 3, 2017, and approve the associated tariff sheet on less than 30 days’ notice, effective January 3, 2017. Motion carried 2-0. Commissioner Hanson recused himself.

Leadership

1.     Election of a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Commission (Commission Attorney: Adam de Hueck)

South Dakota Codified Law 49-1-8 states in part that, "The members of the Commission shall elect a chairperson by majority vote and prescribe his duties." SDCL 49-1-12 requires that, "Every vote and official action of the Public Utilities Commission shall be entered of record and its proceedings shall be public upon the request of either party or any person interested." SDCL 1-25-1 requires that all official meetings of the Commission be open to the public. Accordingly, the determination of the Commission's leadership structure shall be made at this public meeting.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to nominate Commissioner Fiegen for the position of Chairperson. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to nominate Commissioner Hanson for the position of Vice Chairperson. Motion carried 3-0. 

     There being no further business, at the hour of 1:51 p.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
January 3, 2017