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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 1, 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: Commissioners: Gary Hanson and Chris Nelson; Commission Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Adam de Hueck; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards and Amanda Reiss; Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Brittany Mehlhaff, and Lorena Reichert; Grain Warehouse: Jim Mehlhaff; Consumer Affairs Manager: Deb Gregg; Finance Manager: Cindy Kemnitz; and Staff: Katlyn Gustafson.

Present were:
Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing South Dakota Rural Electric Association; Clint Sargent, Meierhenry Sargent LLP, representing grain sellers; Bob Mercer, reporter; and Kathy Zander, SD Grain and Feed Association.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Steve Kolbeck, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Gary W. Schumacher, attorney; representing grain sellers; and Don McCarty, Helsper, McCarty and Rasmussin, P.C., representing H & I Grain of Hetland, Inc.

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 32 contacts since the last report was prepared for the April 20, 2018 Commission meeting.

Five contacts involved telecommunication services, 11 contacts were related to electrical services, one contact was related to natural gas service, five contacts were related to wireless service, seven contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, one contact was related to One Call and two 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: 430 of the 440 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL18-004     In the Matter of the Petition of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of a Proxy Pricing Proposal to Adjust Certain Fuel Clause Rider Power Purchase Costs (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission give the executive director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Mr. Steve Kolbeck, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Xcel), did not object to the request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to give the executive director authority 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, May 1, 2018, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2018/puc05012018.mp3.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to defer the docket for purpose of exploring potential litigation to seek receivership. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC18-010     In the Matter of the Filing by Ionex Communications North, LLC dba Birch Communications for Approval of its Switched Access Services Tariff No. 7 (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

The Commission deferred the docket until the next Commission meeting.

Items for Commission Discussion

1.     EL17-024     In the Matter of the Commission Approval of Stray Voltage Training Programs (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, asked the Commission for guidance on how to proceed with Docket EL17-024. The reason guidance was requested is because Staff is aware of only one stray voltage training program that is conducted by the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  Mr. Kearney also noted that the Midwest Rural Energy Council, an extension of the University of Wisconsin, provides stray voltage training.  Margo Northrup, representing South Dakota Rural Electric Association, identified that the University of the Wisconsin training programs are the ones they are aware of as well.  Ms. Northrup also noted that there may be a need to open up a rule making docket to address the 48 hours of required training since the training program offered by the University of Wisconsin is only 40 hours.  After discussing the matter, the Commission decided to continue with docket EL17-024 and also instructed Staff to open up a rule making docket to address the 48 hour training concern as well as any other changes that may be needed to the rules.

     There being no further business, at the hour of 11:05 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
May 1, 2018