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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
August 1, 2017, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 414, 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, Brittany Mehlhaff, Joseph Rezac, and Lorena Reichert; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Katlyn Gustafson.

Present were:
Cheri McComsey Wittler, court reporter; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, South Dakota Network, LLC, Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. and TrioTel Communications Inc.; Paul Bachand, Moreno, Lee & Bachand, P.C., representing South Dakota Intrastate Pipeline Co.; Gordon Woods, South Dakota Intrastate Pipeline Co.; Brian Rounds, AESL Consulting; Brian Draxten, Matt Olsen and Kris Dahl, Otter Tail Power Company; William Taylor, Taylor Law Firm, LLC representing Consolidated Edison Development, Inc.; Pam Bonrud and Al Brogan, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, LLP, representing Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Mary Zanter, PUC Pipeline Safety Manager; Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Troy Kwasniewski, H-D Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Ryan Taylor, Cutler Law Firm LLP, representing Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc.; Denny Law and Jill Reinert, Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc.; Dave Eide, Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Andrew Moratzka and Emma Fazio, Stoel Rives LLP, representing South Dakota Intrastate Pipeline Co.; Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch & Cremer, LLC, representing James Valley Wireless, LLC, Northern Valley Communications, LLC and James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company; James Groft, James Valley Wireless, LLC, Northern Valley Communications, LLC and James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company; Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing South Dakota Network, LLC, TrioTel Communications Inc., Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. and Beresford Municipal Telephone Company; Corey Juhl, Consolidated Edison Development, Inc.; Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Chuck Rea Brian Rybarik, Adam Wright, Mike Hoff and Brian Wiese, MidAmerican Energy Company; and Todd Hansen, Beresford Municipal Telephone Company.

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

Administration

1.     Approval of the minutes of the Commission meeting held on July 21, 2017. (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meeting held on July 21, 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 54 contacts since the last report was prepared for the July 21, 2017, Commission meeting.

Twelve contacts involved telecommunication services, 12 contacts involved electrical services, nine contacts were related to natural gas services, one contact was related to gas and electric service, six contacts were related to wireless service, nine contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and five 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: 1,018 of the 1,028 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL15-027     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between H-D Electric Cooperative, Inc. and NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Troy Kwasniewski, H-D Electric Cooperative, Inc. (H-D Electric), stated H-D Electric was in agreement with the proposed electric service territory boundary agreement between NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy and H-D Electric. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval of the electric service territory boundary agreement between NorthWestern Energy and H-D Electric.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the proposed electric service territory boundary agreement. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     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)

Oral arguments and 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, August 1, 2017, recording located at:
http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc08012017.mp3.

     The Commission deferred the docket until the next Commission meeting.

3.     EL17-027     In the Matter of the Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy and Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Dave Eide, Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Codington-Clark), stated Codington-Clark is in favor of the Consent and Agreement for Electric Service between NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy and Codington-Clark. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval to the service rights exception between NorthWestern Energy and Codington-Clark.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the requested service rights exception between NorthWestern and Codington-Clark. Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.     NG17-009     In the Matter of the Application of South Dakota Intrastate Pipeline Company for Authority to Increase its Natural Gas Rates (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen, Eric Paulson; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket NG17-009. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2017, August 1, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc08012017.mp3.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant MDU’s Motion for Commission Review and make all SDIP’s June 29, 2017, filings public. Motion carried 2-1. Commissioner Hanson dissenting.

2.     NG17-011     In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of Tariff Revisions regarding Farm Tap Service (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Mary Zanter, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket NG17-011. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2017, August 1, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc08012017.mp3.

     The Commission deferred the docket until the next Commission meeting.

Telecommunications

1.     TC17-018     In the Matter of the Application of South Dakota Network, LLC (SDN) for Waiver of Switched Access Cost Study (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing South Dakota Network, LLC (SDN), asked that the Commission grant SDN’s request for a waiver, pursuant to ARSD 20:10:27:02, of the requirement to perform a switched access cost study. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve SDN’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant South Dakota Network, LLC’s request for a waiver, pursuant to ARSD 20:10:27:02, of the requirement to perform a switched access cost study. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     In the Matter of Request for Certification Regarding the Use of Federal Universal Service Support in Dockets TC17-026, TC17-027, TC17-028, TC17-031, TC17-034, TC17-035, TC17-036 and TC17-043.

     TC17-026     In the Matter of the Request of Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc., Study Area Codes:  Armour–391640, Golden West Telecom–391659, Kadoka–391667, Sioux Valley–391677, Union–391684 and Vivian–391686 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-027     In the Matter of the Request of Northern Valley Communications, L.L.C. Study Area: 399017 and 396340 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

&Mr. Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch & Cremer, LLC, representing Northern Valley Communications, LLC (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-028     In the Matter of the Request of James Valley Wireless, LLC Study Area: 399014 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch & Cremer, LLC, representing James Valley Wireless, LLC (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-031     In the Matter of the Request of James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company Study Area: 391664 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch & Cremer, LLC, representing James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. Mr. Joseph Rezac, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-034     In the Matter of the Request of TrioTel Communications Inc. Study Area: McCook–391669 and Tri-County Telecom–391682 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing TrioTel Communications Inc. (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-035     In the Matter of the Request of Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. Study Area: 391685 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-036     In the Matter of the Request of Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. Study Areas: Splitrock–391657, Baltic–391642, Hills–391405 for Certification Regarding Its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Ryan Taylor, Cutler Law Firm LLP, representing Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-043     In the Matter of the Request of Beresford Municipal Telephone Company Study Area: 391649 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing Beresford Municipal Telephone Company (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     In dockets TC17-026, TC17-027, TC17-028, TC17-031, TC17-034, TC17-035, TC17-036 and TC17-043, Commissioner Hanson 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.

There being no further business, at the hour of 3:33 p.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
August 1, 2017