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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
August 29, 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: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber, Eric Paulson, Brittany Mehlhaff, Joseph Rezac, and Lorena Reichert; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Katlyn Gustafson.

Present were:
Jason Keil, Jim Keck, Don Martinez and Jim Dillon, Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy; Kara Semmler, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Ag Processing, Inc.; Brian Rounds, AESL Consulting; Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Clarity Telecom, LLC dba Vast Broadband, RC Technologies and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority; and Weldon Feightner, Clarity Telecom, LLC dba Vast Broadband.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Mary Zanter, PUC Pipeline Safety Manager; Robin Thoreson and Scott Bostrom, RC Technologies; Scott Bohler, Citizens Telecommunications Company of Minnesota, LLC; Jon Boike, Clarity Telecom, LLC dba Vast Broadband; Ray Schoquette, Steve Hansen and Tony Stepanek, Ag Processing, Inc.; Mona Thompson, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority; Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC; Todd Brink, Chad Kinsley, Scott Fredrich and Erin Stitz, Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy; Pam Bonrud, Jon Oostra and Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Harvey Oliver, Richards, Tonner, Oliver, Fischbach & Dell LLP, representing Northern Electric Cooperative; Pat Mastel and Nancy Vogel, Midcontinent Communications; Tamie Aberle, Montana Dakota Utilities Co.; Burton Peebles, Lance J.M. Steinhart, P.C., representing IM Telecom, LLC dba Infiniti Mobile.

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 55 contacts since the last report was prepared for the August 15, 2017, Commission meeting.

Three contacts involved telecommunication services, 19 contacts involved electrical services, four contacts were related to natural gas services, five contacts were related to wireless service, nine contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, two contacts were related to Wind Energy, one contact was related to Keystone XL Pipeline and 12 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: 1,125 of the 1,142 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL17-026     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy for Approval to Modify and Extend Its Energy Efficiency Solutions Plan Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL17-026. 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/puc08292017.mp3.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the three-year extension of BHE’s Energy Efficiency Solutions Plan with the proposed modifications as indicated in the staff memo, to become effective on September 1, 2017.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to amend the motion to take all residential measurers out of the program. Motion failed 1-2. Commissioners Fiegen and Hanson dissented.

     Commissioner Hanson’s main motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL17-031     In the Matter of Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling Regarding Whether a Permit is Required for a Rebuild of a 230kV Transmission Line Constructed in 1963 (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

     Mr. Jason Keil, Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy (BHE), asked that the Commission  issue a declaratory ruling stating that BHE does not need  a permit for the rebuild of a 230 kV transmission line constructed in 1963. Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission issue a declaratory ruling stating that a permit is not required.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to issue a declaratory ruling stating that BHE does not need  a permit to construct for the rebuild of a 230 kV transmission line constructed in 1963.Motion carried 3-0.     

3.     EL17-033     In the Matter of the Petition for Electrical Service by Ag Processing Inc. to have NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy Assigned as Its Electric Provider in the Service Area of Northern Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Joe Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Kara Semmler, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Ag Processing, Inc. (AGP), asked that the Commission grant AGP’s Petition  with the conditions stated in the Settlement Agreement. Mr. Harvey Oliver, Richards, Tonner, Oliver, Fischbach & Dell LLP, representing Northern Electric Cooperative and Mr. Al Brogan, NorthWestern Energy, did not object to the request. Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission grant AGP’s Petition with the conditions stated in the Settlement Agreement.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant AGP’s Petition pursuant to SDCL 49-34A-56 with the conditions stated in the Settlement Agreement.Motion carried 3-0.

Pipeline Safety

1.     PS10-001     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for Approval of a Waiver of 49 CFR Sections 192.285(a)(2) and 192.285(c). (Pipeline Safety Inspector: Mary Zanter; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Tamie Aberle, Montana Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU). MDU, asked that the Commission grant the request to remove the waiver of 49 CFR Section 192.285(a)(2) and 192.285(c).  Ms. Mary Zanter, Pipeline Safety Manager, recommended that the Commission approve MDU’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the request to remove the waiver of 49 CFR Section 192.285(a)(2) and 192.285(c). Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC16-001     In the Matter of the Petition of IM Telecom, LLC dba Infiniti Mobile for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier and Waiver (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Burton Peebles, Lance J.M. Steinhart, P.C., representing IM Telecom, LLC dba Infiniti Mobile, asked that the Commission approve Infiniti Mobile’s request to withdraw the petition without prejudice. Mr. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Infiniti Mobile’s request.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant Infiniti Mobile’s Request to Withdraw the Petition without Prejudice. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     In the Matter of Request for Certification Regarding the Use of Federal Universal Service Support in Dockets TC17-029, TC17-032, TC17-033, TC17-037, TC17-038, TC17-044, TC17-051 and TC17-053

     TC17-029     In the Matter of the Request of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority Study Area: 391647 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority (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. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the Company’s request.

     TC17-032     In the Matter of the Request of Citizens Telecommunications Company of Minnesota, LLC Study Area: 361123 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Scott Bohler, Citizens Telecommunications Company of Minnesota, LLC (Citizens), asked that the Commission approve its certification. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant Citizen’s request for a one-year waiver pursuant to ARSD 20:10:32:56 and grant certification.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant a one-year waiver pursuant to ARSD 20:10:32:56, and provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the Universal Service Administration Company regarding the use of Federal Universal Service Support. 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)

     The Commission deferred TC17-033 until the next Commission meeting.

     TC17-037     In the Matter of the Request of Farmers Mutual Telephone Company Study Area: 361389 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 Farmers Mutual Telephone Company to provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support.

     TC17-038     In the Matter of the Request of Fort Randall Telephone Company and Mount Rushmore Telephone Study Area: 391660 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

     The Commission deferred TC17-038 until the next Commission meeting.

     TC17-044     In the Matter of the Request of Clarity Telecom, LLC dba Vast Broadband Study Area: ILEC–391652 and CLEC–399006 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket TC17-044. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2017, August 29, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc08292017.mp3. The Commission deferred TC17-044 until the next Commission meeting.

     TC17-051     In the Matter of the Request of RC Technologies Study Area: 391674 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support(Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing RC Technologies (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.

     TC17-053     In the Matter of the Request of Midcontinent Communications Study Area: 399005 for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Pat Mastel, Midcontinent Communications (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.

     In Dockets TC17-029, TC17-037, TC17-051 and TC17-053, 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.

3.     TC17-039     In the Matter of the Request of Red River Rural Telephone Association dba Red River Communications Study Area: 381631 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 Red River Rural Telephone Association dba Red River Communications’ (Red River), request for a waiver of ARSD 20:10:32:54(1) for one year and that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of Federal Universal  Service Support.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the waiver of ARSD 20:10:32:54(1) and provide a certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the Universal Service Administration Company regarding the use of Federal Universal Service Support. Motion carried 3-0.

Items for Commission Discussion

     Commissioners and Staff discussed the results of Staff’s White Paper on The Difference in Investor Owned Utility Total Resource Cost Test Calculations for Ground Source Heat Pumps (2017 Info EL-7).  The White Paper identified that Total Resource Cost test scores differ between utilities as a result of the Technical Reference Manual each utility uses for deemed savings calculations and each individual utility’s avoided costs.  Commissioners discussed the option of South Dakota developing a state-specific Technical Reference Manual as presented in the White Paper, with all Commissioners agreeing that the option should not be pursued.

There being no further business, at the hour of 11:24 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
August 29, 2017