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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
September 26, 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, Patrick Steffensen, Eric Paulson, 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 dba Vast Broadband; Bob Mercer, Newspaper reporter; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Geronimo Energy; Jim Gleason and Weldon Feightner, Clarity Telecom, LLC dba Vast Broadband; and Larry Luther, self.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Amanda Rome, John Chow and Chris Shaw, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Jon Boike, JSI representing Clarity Telecom, LLC dba Vast Broadband; Todd Chambers, Watertown Municipal Utilities; Jeff Decker, Jon Oostra and Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Reece Almond, Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP, representing Landowners.

Administration

1.     Approval of the minutes of the Commission meetings held on September 12, 2017. (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meeting held on September 12, 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 68 contacts since the last report was prepared for the September 12, 2017, Commission meeting.

Nine contacts involved telecommunication services, 20 contacts involved electrical services, three contacts were related to natural gas services, 13 contacts were related to wireless service, four contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, eight contacts were related to Wind Energy and 11 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: 1,252 of the 1,283 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     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)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL17-028. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2017, September 26, 2017, recording located at:  
http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc09262017.mp3.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant party status to those who have filed except those applicants who failed to note their interest in the preceding, namely, Luke Holzwarth, Emma Vig, Cole Vig, Heather Johannsen, Renae Mudgett, Terry Mudgett, Margaret Nordhus, and Brad Stevens. Motion failed 1-2. Commissioners Fiegen and Hanson dissenting.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant party status to those who have filed. 

     Commissioner Hanson moved to amend his motion to grant party status to all who had filed excluding Luke Holzwarth.

     Motion carried as amended. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to adopt the procedural schedule specified by the PUC staff and parties and that responses to discovery are due ten business days after receipt. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL17-034     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of a Contract with Deviations (Staff Analysts: Patrick Steffensen, Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern), asked that the Commission approve the Contract with Deviations and the associated tariff revisions, effective October 1, 2017. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the Contract with Deviations and the associated tariff revisions, effective October 1, 2017. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL17-037     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Watertown Municipal Utilities and NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the proposed Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) and Watertown Municipal Utilities. Mr. Todd Chambers, Watertown Municipal Utilities and Mr. Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern, did not object to the proposed electric service territory boundary agreement.

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

4.     EL17-038     In the Matter of the Filing by Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval to Adjust the Fuel Adjustment Clause Rider Rate from October 2017 through February 2018 (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Amanda Rome, Northern States Power Company (Xcel Energy), asked that the Commission approve Xcel Energy’s proposal to vary from their established FCR tariff on less than 30 days’ notice, effective October 1, 2017 and approve the proposed proxy pricing methodology to recover the costs associated with the aurora project. Mr. Jon Thurber, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Xcel Energy’s request.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve Xcel Energy’s proposal to vary from their established FCR tariff on less than 30 days’ notice, effective October 1, 2017 and approve the proposed proxy pricing methodology to recover the energy costs associated with the Aurora project. Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.     NG17-012      In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of its Gas Transportation Tariff Revisions Regarding Fuel Retention Percentage (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern), asked that the Commission approve the proposed tariff revisions effective October 1, 2017. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s request.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the proposed tariff revisions effective October 1, 2017. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     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, September 26, 2017, recording located at:
http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc09262017.mp3.

     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 for Clarity Telecom, LLC. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 10:42 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
September 26, 2017