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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
April 20, 2018, 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: Commissioner: Chris Nelson; Commission Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Adam de Hueck; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards and Amanda Reiss; Staff Analysts: Patrick Steffensen, Darren Kearney, Brittany Mehlhaff, Eric Paulson, Joseph Rezac and Lorena Reichert; Grain Warehouse: Jim Mehlhaff; Consumer Affairs Manager: Deb Gregg; Finance Manager: Cindy Kemnitz; and Staff: Katlyn Gustafson.

Present were:
Jenna Howell, Department of Public Safety/911 Board; Wendy Day, 911 Authority/911 Board; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Kara Semmler, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing NextGen Communications, Inc.; Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing South Dakota Network, LLC; Chad and Catherine Murphy, self; Gary W. Schumacher, attorney; representing grain sellers; and Maria King and Shawnie Rechtenbaugh, Department of Public Safety.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Commissioner: Gary Hanson; Jeff Decker, Paul Mantz and Rick Edwards, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Ken Schlimgen and Brian Bultje, Central Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Brian Murphy, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC; Miles Schumacher, Lynn, Jackson, Shultz and Lebrun, PC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC; Randy Ogren, self; Kim Scovill and Andrew Singer, NextGen Communications, Inc.; Travis Jacobson, Nathan Bensen, Stephanie Bosch and Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Eric Pauli, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Benjamin Clark and Rhonda Davis, MidAmerican Energy Company; Don McCarty, Helsper, McCarty and Rasmussin, P.C., representing H & I Grain of Hetland, Inc.; Mark Shlanta and Nancy Johnson, South Dakota Network, LLC; Brad Schardin, Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Matt Klein, Union County Electric Cooperative, Inc.; and Frank Virchow, self.

(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 April 3, 2018. (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meeting held on April 30, 2018. Motion carried 3-0.

Consumer Reports

1.     Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission (Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

The Commission received a total of 57 contacts since the last report was prepared for the April 3, 2018, Commission meeting.

Four contacts involved telecommunication services, 28 contacts were related to electrical services, four contacts were related to natural gas service, 2 contacts were related to wireless service, 8 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 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 2018: 398 of the 408 have been resolved.

Administration

1.     AA18-002     Establishment of the Gross Receipts Tax Levy for Fiscal Year 2019 (Finance Manager: Cindy Kemnitz)

Ms. Cindy Kemnitz, Finance Manager, requested that the Commission establish the rate of .0015 or $250, whichever is greater, and assess the gross receipts tax as authorized in SDCL 49-1A-3.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to establish the rate of .0015 or $250, whichever is greater, and assess the Gross Receipts Tax as authorized in SDCL 49-1A-3. Motion carried 3-0.

Electric

1.     EL18-010     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Division of MDU Resources Group Inc. for Approval of the Annual Update to Its Infrastructure Rider Rate (Staff Analysts: Patrick Steffensen, Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Nathan Bensen, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU) asked that the Commission approve MDU’s request to decrease the Infrastructure Rider Rate tariff to $0.00432 per kWh and approve the associated tariff sheet with an effective date of May 1, 2018. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve MDU’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve Montana Dakota Utilities Co.’s request to decrease the Infrastructure Rider Rate tariff to $0.00432 per kWh and approve the associated tariff sheet with an effective date of May 1, 2018. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL18-011     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Division of MDU Resources Group Inc., for Approval of the Annual Update to Its Transmission Cost Recovery Rider Rate (Staff Analysts: Eric Paulson, Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Stephanie Bosch, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.(MDU), asked that the Commission approve the revised Transmission Cost Recovery rate and revised tariff sheet with an effective date of May 1, 2018. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve MDU’s request.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the revised Transmission Cost Recovery rate and revised tariff sheet with an effective date of May 1, 2018. Motion carried 3-0.

3     EL18-012     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of Tariff Revisions to Its Landlord Continuous Service Agreement (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern), asked that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s tariff revisions. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s request with an effective date of April 20, 2018.
    
     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve NorthWestern Energy’s tariff revisions with an effective date of April 20, 2018. Motion carried 3-0.

4.     EL18-013     In the Matter of the Filing of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of its 2017 Economic Development Activities and 2018 Budget (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Eric Pauli, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Xcel), asked that the Commission approve Xcel’s 2017 Economic Development Report and its 2018 Economic Development Budget. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Xcel’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve Xcel Energy’s 2017 Economic Development Report and its 2018 Economic Development Budget. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     EL18-015     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy’s for Approval of Its 2018 Economic Development Plan and 2017 Economic Development Report (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Rick Edwards, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern), asked that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s 2018 Economic Development Plan and 2017 Economic Development Report. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve NorthWestern Energy’s 2018 Economic Development Plan and 2017 Economic Development Report. Motion carried 3-0.

6.     EL18-016     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Ken Schlimgen, Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Mr. Brad Schardin, Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc., asked that the Commission approve the electric service territory boundary agreement between Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the agreement.

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

7.     EL18-017     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between MidAmerican Energy Company and Union County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Ben Clark, MidAmerican Energy Company (MidAmerican) and Mr. Matt Klein, Union County Electric Cooperative, Inc. asked that the Commission approve the electric service territory boundary agreement between MidAmerican Energy Company and Union County Electric Cooperative, Inc. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the agreement.

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

8.     EL18-019     In the Matter of the Application of Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC for a Facility Permit to Construct a 230-kV Transmission Line and Associated Facilities in Codington County (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission assess Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC (Crowned Ridge II) a filing fee not to exceed $25,000 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 II, stated Crowned Ridge Wind II does not object to the filing fee.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to assess a filing fee not to exceed $25,000 with an initial deposit of $8,000 and authorize the executive director to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0.

Grain

1.     GW17-002     In the Matter of the Grain Buyer Bond of H & I Grain of Hetland, Inc. (Grain Warehouse Manager: James Mehlhaff; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place for docket GW17-002. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2018, April 20, 2018, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2018/puc04202018.mp3.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to defer the docket until the next Commission meeting. Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.     NG18-005     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of Tariff Revisions to Its Landlord Continuous Service Agreement (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

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

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve NorthWestern Energy’s tariff revisions. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     NG18-006     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of Its 2018 Economic Development Plan and 2017 Economic Development Report (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Rick Edwards, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern), asked that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s 2018 Economic Development Proposed Budget and 2017 Economic Development Report. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve NorthWestern Energy’s 2018 Economic Development Plan and 2017 Economic Development Report. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     NG18-007     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of a Contract with Deviations with James Valley Ethanol, LLC dba POET Biorefining –Groton (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Joseph Rezac ; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern), asked that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s contract with deviations with James Valley Ethanol, LLC and the associated tariff revisions with an effective date of May 1, 2018. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve NorthWestern’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve NorthWestern Energy’s contract with deviations with James Valley Ethanol, LLC and the associated tariff revisions with an effective date of May 1, 2018. 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: Patrick Steffensen, Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place for docket TC17-063. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2018, April 20, 2018, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2018/puc04202018.mp3.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved pursuant to ARSD 20:10:01:02.04 that the Commission dismiss and close the docket without prejudice. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 11:56 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
April 20, 2018