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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
August 15, 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: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber, Patrick Steffensen, Eric Paulson, Brittany Mehlhaff, Joseph Rezac, and Lorena Reichert; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Katlyn Gustafson.

Present were:
Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Clarity Telecom, LLC, RT Communications, Inc., City of Faith Municipal Telephone Company and West River Telecommunications Cooperative; Brian Rybarik, Adam Wright, Jerry Hempel, Brian Wiese and Mike Hoff, MidAmerican Energy Company; Bob Mercer, reporter; William Taylor, Taylor Law Firm, LLC representing Consolidated Edison Development, Inc.; Corey Juhl, Consolidated Edison Development, Inc.; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP representing Crocker Wind Farm, LLC; Bleau LaFave, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Brian Rounds, AESL Consulting; and Ariel Hammerquist, Legislative Research Council.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Mary Zanter, PUC Pipeline Safety Manager; Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC; Al Brogan, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Michael Uda, Uda Law Firm, P.C., representing Consolidated Edison Development, Inc.; Gary Meiners, Diane Votino and Naomi Czachura, MidAmerican Energy Company; Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC; Mary Jo Biegler, Park Region Mutual Telephone Co., representing Valley Telephone Company; Ryan Taylor, Cutler Law Firm LLP, representing Midstate Communications, Inc.; Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing City of Faith Municipal Telephone Company and Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc.; Debbie Brown, City of Faith Municipal Telephone Company; Michelle Perreault and Beverly Huber, West River Telecommunications Cooperative; Rod Bowar, Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc.; Colgan Huber, West River Cooperative Telephone Company; Doug Eidahl, Vantage Point Solutions, Santel Communications Cooperative, Inc.; and Olivia Hill and John Kuykendall, John Staurulakis, Inc., representing West River Cooperative 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 August 1, 2017. (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meeting held on August 1, 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 59 contacts since the last report was prepared for the August 1, 2017, Commission meeting.

Ten contacts involved telecommunication services, eight contacts involved electrical services, six contacts were related to natural gas services, seven contacts were related to wireless service, ten contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, one contact was related to Wind Energy, one contact was related to the Dakota Access Pipeline and 16 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: 1,071 of the 1,087 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, August 8, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc08152017.mp3.

     Commissioner Hanson moved that a legally enforceable obligation (LEO) was established on June 23, 2016, for all three projects. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved that the Commission support the avoided cost model offered by NorthWestern with the caveat that the model will need to be rerun using inputs from June 23, 2016. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Hanson moved that the avoided cost rate include NorthWestern’s position on situations 1, 2, and 3. Motion carried 3-0.

     Chairperson Fiegen moved that the avoided cost rate contain no adjustment for renewable energy credits. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to adopt NorthWestern’s method for handling interconnection costs. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Hanson moved that the avoided cost rate include capacity costs annually for 20 years with a fixed payment each month subject to change to reflect SPP’s 5% capacity accreditation over the 20 years.

     Commissioner Nelson made a substitute motion; moving capacity costs be set at $1.38 per megawatt hour (MWh) beginning in 2019 through the remainder of the contract. Motion carried 3-0.

     Chairperson Fiegen moved that the avoided cost rate includes NorthWestern’s natural gas escalation rate for integration and regulation costs.

     Commissioner Nelson made a substitute motion; clarifying and moving that in rerunning the cost model with the June 23, 2016 inputs, NorthWestern use the same methodologies that it did in the original model. Motion carried 2-1. Commissioner Hanson dissented.

2.      EL17-028     In the Matter of the Application by Crocker Wind Farm, LLC for a permit of a Wind Energy Facility and a 345 kV Transmission Line in Clark County, South Dakota, for Crocker Wind Farm (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Darren Kearney; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, stated Crocker Wind Farm LLC (Crocker), had no objection to staff’s requests. Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission assess a filing fee for the wind farm not to exceed $500,000 with an initial deposit of $8,000 and authorize the Executive Director to enter into necessary consulting contracts.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to assess a filing fee for the wind farm not to exceed $500,000 with an initial deposit of $8,000 and to authorize the Executive Director to enter into necessary consulting contracts.Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.      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 8, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc08152017.mp3.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the Option 3 tariff revisions included in MidAmerican’s August 10, 2017 filing, on less than 30 days’ notice, effective August 15, 2017, and approve the recovery of the rate phase-in deficit and contribution towards the safety inspections through the Purchased Gas Adjustment.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to amend the motion by striking from the redline tariff submission the safety provision requirements, including all of Section No. 3, Sheet No. 15.4; the new language on Section No. 5, Sheet No. 56, all of Section No. 5, Sheet No. 56.1; the new language on Section No. 5, Sheet No. 56.2; and the new language on Section No. 5, Sheet No. 72. Motion to amend failed 1-2. Commissioners Fiegen and Hanson dissented.

     Commissioner Fiegen’s main motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.      TC17-056     In the Matter of the Approval of Routing of Traffic Through a Third Party Transit Provider Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Airus, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC (CenturyLink), asked that the Commission approve the Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement. Ms. Amanda Reiss, stated that the agreement was properly filed, properly executed, and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions, and no comments were filed. Ms. Reiss recommended that the Commission grant approval.

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

2.      TC17-057     In the Matter of the Filing by Clarity Telecom, LLC dba Vast Broadband for Approval of its Access Service Tariff No. 3 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Clarity Telecom, LLC (Clarity), asked that the Commission approve the revisions to Clarity’s Access Service Tariff No. 3. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant Clarity’s request with an effective date of July 1, 2017.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the revisions to Clarity Telecom, LLC’s Access Service Tariff No. 3 with an effective date of July 1, 2017.Motion carried 3-0.

3.      TC17-058     In the Matter of the Filing by Clarity Telecom, LLC dba Vast Broadband, Rapid City, South Dakota, for Approval of its Access Service Tariff No. 2 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Clarity Telecom, LLC (Clarity), asked that the Commission approve Clarity’s Access Service Tariff No. 2. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant Clarity’s request with an effective date of July 1, 2017.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the revisions to Clarity Telecom, LLC’s Access Service Tariff No. 2 with an effective date of July 1, 2017. Motion carried 3-0.

4.      TC17-059     In the Matter of the Filing by Midcontinent Communications for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Midcontinent Communications (Midco), revisions to Midco’s Access Services Tariff effective on July 29, 2017.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the revisions to Midcontinent Communication’s Access Services Tariff with an effective date of July 29, 2017.Motion carried 3-0.

5.      TC17-060     In the Matter of the Filing by Level 3 Communications, LLC for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 3 (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the revisions to Level 3 Communications, LLC’s Access Services Tariff with an effective date of July 29, 2017.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the revisions to Level 3 Communications, LLC’s Access Services Tariff with an effective date of July 29, 2017. Motion carried 3-0.

6.      In the Matter of Request for Certification Regarding the Use of Federal Universal Service Support in Dockets TC17-030, TC17-040, TC17-041, TC17-042, TC17-046, TC17-047, TC17-050 and TC17-055.

     TC17-030     In the Matter of the Request of RT Communications, Inc. Study Area: 512251 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing RT 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. Mr. Joseph Rezac, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-040     In the Matter of the Request of Valley Telephone Company Study Area: 361495 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Joseph Rezac, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant Valley Telephone Company to provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support.

     TC17-041     In the Matter of the Request of Midstate Communications, Inc. Study Areas: 391670-Midstate Communications and 399011-Midstate Telecommunications for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Ryan Taylor, Cutler Law Firm, LLP, representing Midstate 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. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-042     In the Matter of the Request of City of Faith Municipal Telephone Company Study Area: 391653 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing City of Faith 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. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-046     In the Matter of the Request of West River Telecommunications Cooperative Study Area: Mobridge–391671 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing West River Telecommunications Cooperative, Mobridge, (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. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-047     In the Matter of the Request of Santel Communications Cooperative, Inc. Study Area: 391676 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Doug Eidahl, Vantage Point Solutions, representing Santel 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. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-050     In the Matter of the Request of Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. Study Area: 391668 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Marlene Bennett, Consortia Consulting, representing Kennebec Telephone Co., 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.

     TC17-055     In the Matter of the Request of West River Cooperative Telephone Company Study Area 391689 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Colgan Huber, West River 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. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     In dockets TC17-030, TC17-040, TC17-041, TC17-042, TC17-046, TC17-047, TC17-050 and TC17-055, 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.

     TC17-033     In the Matter of the Request of Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC Study Area: 395145 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket TC17-033. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2017, August 15, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc08152017.mp3.

     The Commission deferred the docket until the next Commission meeting.

There being no further business, at the hour of 11:33 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
August 15, 2017