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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
November 7, 2017, at 9:30 A.M. CST
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 Attorney: Amanda Reiss; 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:
Pat Landess and Matt Heck, Scout Clean Energy; Shawnie Rechtenbaug and Jenna Howell, SD Department of Public Safety; Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; and Mollie Smith, Fredrickson & Byron, P.A., representing Sweetland Wind Farm, LLC; and Bob Mercer, reporter.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Mary Zanter, SD PUC Pipeline Safety Manager; Dave Page, Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Kevin Kouba, Otter Tail Power Company; Brian Murphy, Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC; Miles Schumacher, Lynn, Jackson, Shultz and Lebrun, PC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC; and Brenda Haviland and Mike Garrey, Humboldt Municipal Gas Utilities.

Administration

1.     Approval of the minutes of the Commission meeting held on October 24, 2017. (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meeting held on October 24, 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 50 contacts since the last report was prepared for the October 24, 2017, Commission meeting.

Five contacts involved telecommunication services, five contacts involved electrical services, five contacts were related to natural gas services, 11 contacts were related to wireless service, eight contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, one contact was related to One Call 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: 1,428 of the 1,450 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL17-041     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Colman Municipal Electric and Otter Tail Power Company (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the electric service territory boundary agreement between Colman Municipal Electric and Otter Tail Power Company (OTP). Mr. Kevin Kouba, OTP, stated OTP was in agreement with the proposed electric service territory boundary agreement.

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

2.     EL17-043     In the Matter of the Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Otter Tail Power Company (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Kevin Kouba, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail), asked that the Commission approve the requested service rights exception between Otter Tail and Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Whetstone). Mr. Dave Page, Whetstone, stated Whetstone was in agreement with the request.

      Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the requested service rights exception between Otter Tail and Whetstone.Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL17-047     In the Matter of the Application of Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC for a Facility Permit to Construct a 230-kV Transmission Line and Associated Facilities from Codington County to the Big Stone South Substation (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission assess a filing fee not to exceed $120,000 with an initial deposit of $8,000 and authorize the Executive Director to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Mr. Miles Schumacher, Lynn, Jackson, Shultz and Lebrun, PC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC (Crowned Ridge), stated Crowned Ridge does not object to staff’s requests.

      Commissioner Fiegen moved to assess a filing fee not to exceed $120,000 with an initial deposit of $8,000 and authorize the Executive Director to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0.

Pipeline Safety

1.     PS15-001     In the Matter of the Filing by Commission Pipeline Safety Staff for Approval of a Penalty for a Pipeline Safety Violation by Humboldt Municipal Gas Utilities (Pipeline Safety Inspectors: Mary Zanter, Boice Hillmer; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Mary Zanter, SD PUC Pipeline Safety Manager, recommended that the Commission dismiss the complaint and close the docket after Humboldt Municipal Gas Utilities satisfactorily filed updates for two years.

      Commissioner Nelson moved to dismiss the complaint and close the docket. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC17-063     In the Matter of the Petition for a Declaratory Ruling by Department of Public Safety/911 Coordination Board regarding Determining Responsibility for Rural Carrier Interconnection to the Next Generation 9-1-1 System (Staff Analysts: Joseph Rezac, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA), asked that the Commission approve SDTA’s intervention. Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, stated staff had no objections to SDTA and NextGen’s intervention. Ms. Jenna Howell, SD Department of Public Safety, did not object to the requests.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant intervention to SDTA and NextGen.Motion carried 3-0.

Items for Commission Discussion

2017 Info EL9 Notification of Sweetland Wind Farm, LLC regarding Sweetland Wind Farm in Hand County, South Dakota

Commissioners, Staff, and representatives from Sweetland Wind Farm, LLC (Sweetland) engaged in a lengthy discussion regarding this matter. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2017, November 7, 2017, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2017/puc11072017.mp3. Sweetland provided additional information regarding the excavation work that occurred. Staff expressed concern with Sweetland’s actions and concern that other developers may engage in similar behavior, but Staff did appreciate that Sweetland self-reported the incident to the Commission and provided assurances in the affidavit that no further work would be done until a PUC permit is obtained. The Commission deferred this matter to a later meeting.

There being no further business, at the hour of 10:19 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
November 7, 2017