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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
March 14, 2017, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

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

Present were:
Cheri McComsey Wittler, Court Reporter; William Taylor, Taylor Law Firm, LLC, representing Consolidated Edison Development, Inc.; Todd Brink and Jason Keil, Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLP, representing Budget PrePay, Inc., dba Budget Mobile; Al Brogan, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Jacob Quasney, Lloyd Companies, representing Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership; Mary Lohnes and Andrea Livingston, Midcontinent Communications; Robin Enkey, Budget PrePay, Inc., dba Budget Mobile; Steve Kolbeck, Eric Pauli, Amber Hedlund and Steve Huso, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; and Richard Bell, self.

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on February 28, 2017 (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meeting held on February 28, 2017. 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 53 contacts since the last report was prepared for the February 28, 2017, Commission meeting.

Four contacts involved telecommunication services, 17 contacts involved electrical services, four contacts were related to natural gas services, 10 contacts were related to wireless service, one contact was related to Dakota Access Pipeline, nine 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 2017: 315 of the 327 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL16-021      In the Matter of the Complaint by Consolidated Edison Development, Inc. against NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Establishing a Purchase Power Agreement (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Darren Kearney, Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorneys: Amanda Reiss, Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL16-021. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2017, March 14, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc03142017.mp3.

Commissioner Hanson moved to deny Consolidated Edison Development’s Motions In Limine to prohibit PUC Staff from offering portions of the pre-filed testimony of Ms. Kavita Maini and Mr. Jon Thurber and to prohibit NWE from offering portions of the pre-filed testimony of Mr. LaFave. Motion carried 3-0.

Commissioner Fiegen moved to deny Consolidated Edison Development’s motion In Limine to exclude the rebuttal testimony of Autumn Mueller and Luke P. Hansen. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL16-042     In the Matter of Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy’s Application for Adjustment in its Cogeneration and Small Power Production Service Simultaneous Net Billing Generation Credit Rate(s) (Staff Analysts: Patrick Steffensen, Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL16-042. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2017, March 14, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc03142017.mp3.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve Mr. Bell’s request for access to the Confidential Information contained in this docket with the condition that Mr. Bell sign the non-disclosure agreement provided by Black Hills Energy. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to deny Mr. Bell’s request for a hold on the approved 90-day extension until the confidentiality treatment of this information is determined. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL17-004     In the Matter of the Petition of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of its Petition of Changes to the Street Lighting Energy Service Tariff to Include New Installations in the Customer-Owned Light Emitting Diode (LED) Street Lighting Rate (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Eric Pauli, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Xcel), asked that the Commission approve Xcel’s tariff revisions effective January 1, 2016. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Xcel’s request.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve Xcel’s tariff revisions effective January 1, 2016. Motion carried 3-0.

4.     EL17-010     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for Approval of the Annual Update to Its Infrastructure Rider Rate (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU), stated MDU had no objection to the filing fee. Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission assess a filing fee in the amount of up to $250,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date.

5.     EL17-011     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for Approval of the Annual Update to its Transmission Cost Recovery Rider Rate (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU), stated MDU had no objection to the filing fee. Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission assess a filing fee in the amount of up to $50,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date.

     In dockets EL17-010 and EL17-011, Commissioner Hanson moved to assess a filing fee in the amount of up to $250,000 in docket EL17-010 and $50,000 in docket EL17-011 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date. Motion carried 3-0.

Gas and Electric

1.     GE16-006     In the Matter of the Request by Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership for a Variance from the Individual Metering Requirement in ARSD 20:10:26:03 for Three Multi-Family Facilities in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Jacob Quasney, Lloyd Companies, representing Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership, requested that the Commission grant the Master Metering Variance for natural gas only. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the Master Metering Variance request to Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC13-026     In the Matter of Study Area Boundaries for Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, stated since the last certification made by the Commission, Staff is aware of one boundary change (Docket No. TC16-059) that should be submitted to the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau by March 15, 2017. Mr. Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA), stated SDTA had no objection.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to certify the current study area boundaries as described by Staff. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC17-004     In the Matter of the Application of Nebraska Technology & Telecommunications, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange and Interexchange Long Distance Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval to Nebraska Technology & Telecommunications, Inc.’s (NT&T) for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange and Interexchange Long Distance Services in South Dakota, with the conditions that, for retail purposes, NT&T not offer any prepaid services, including prepaid calling cards, and not accept or require any deposits or advance payments without prior approval of the Commission, and that the applicant be subject to rural safeguards.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant Nebraska Technology & Telecommunications, Inc.’s request for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange and Interexchange Long Distance Services in South Dakota. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC17-005     In the Matter of the Application of Midcontinent Communications for an Amended Certificate of Authority and for a Waiver of ARSD 20:10:32:15 (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. (Valley Telecommunications), asked that the Commission approve Valley Telecommunication’s intervention. Mr. Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA), asked that the Commission approve SDTA’s Petition to Intervene. Ms. Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications (Midcontinent), stated Midcontinent did not object to Valley Telecommunications and SDTA’s Petitions  for Intervention.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant intervention to Valley Telecommunications and SDTA. Motion carried 3-0.

4.     TC17-007     In the Matter of the Approval of a Wireline Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Nebraska Technology and Telecommunications Inc. (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve the interconnection agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Nebraska Technology and Telecommunications Inc.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the Interconnection Agreement. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 12:21 p.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
March 14, 2017