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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
November 12, 2019, at 1:30 P.M. CST
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

NOTE:  Docket participants who wish to join this meeting by conference call should contact the Commission at 605-773-3201 by 1:30 p.m. CST on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, to reserve a phone line. Lines are limited and assigned on a first come, first served basis, subject to possible reassignment to accommodate persons who must appear in a proceeding. Ultimately, if you wish to participate in docket discussion at the Commission Meeting and a line is not available, you may have to appear in person. 

NOTE:  To listen to the Commission Meeting live please go to the PUC’s website and click on the LIVE link on the home page. The Commission requests persons who will only be listening to proceedings and not actively appearing in a case listen via the webcast to free phone lines for those who have to appear.  The Commission meetings are archived on the PUC’s website under the Commission Actions tab. Click on “Commission Meeting Archives,” to access the recordings.

NOTE: Notice is further given to persons with disabilities that this Commission meeting is being held in a physically accessible place. If you have special needs, please notify the Commission and we will make all necessary arrangements.



1.     Approval of Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on October 30, 2019 (Staff: Joy Lashley)

Consumer Reports

1.     Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)


1.     EL19-003     In the Matter of the Application by Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility in Grant and Codington Counties (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber, Eric Paulson; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

On January 30, 2019, Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC (Crowned Ridge or Applicant) filed an application for a permit to construct a wind energy conversion facility to be located in Grant County and Codington County, South Dakota (Project). The Project would be situated on approximately 53,186 acres in the townships of Waverly, Rauville, Leola, Germantown, Troy, Stockholm, Twin Brooks, and Mazeppa, South Dakota. The total installed capacity of the Project would not exceed 300 megawatts of nameplate capacity. The proposed Project includes up to 130 wind turbine generators, access roads to turbines and associated facilities, underground 34.5-kilovolt (kV) electrical collector lines, underground fiber-optic cable, a 34.5-kV to 345-kV collection substation, one permanent meteorological tower, and an operations and maintenance facility. The Project will utilize the Crowned Ridge 34-mile 230-kV generation tie line and a new reactive power compensation substation to transmit the generation from the Project’s collector substation to the Project’s point of interconnection located at the Big Stone South 230-kV Substation, which is owned by Otter Tail Power Company. Applicant has executed a power purchase agreement with Northern States Power Company (NSP) to sell NSP the full output of the Project. The Project is expected to be completed in 2020. Applicant estimates the total cost of the Project to be $400 million. On July 26, 2019, the Commission issued a Final Decision and Order Granting Permit to Construct Facility; Notice of Entry (Final Order). On October 23, 2019, the Commission issued an Order Granting 60-Day Extension to Certain Requirements of Permit Condition 45. On October 29, 2019, pursuant to Permit Condition 45, Applicant filed a proposed independent third-party’s credentials and lek survey methodology for Commission approval.

     TODAY, shall the Commission approve Applicant’s proposed independent third-party’s credentials and lek survey methodology?

2.     EL19-039     In the Matter of the Petition of Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of the Transmission Cost Recovery Rider Rate (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

On October 31, 2019, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail) filed a petition for approval of its 2020 Transmission Cost Recovery (TCR) Rider. Otter Tail’s TCR rate has been adjusted to reflect the TCR revenue requirements for the next recovery period (March 2020 – February 2021). The update includes the tracker balance estimated for the end of the current recovery period so that no over- or under-recovery of TCR costs occurs. The update also includes a class allocation true up as agreed upon in EL18-048 to help mitigate any cross class subsidies.

     TODAY, shall the Commission assess a filing fee in the amount of up to $50,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date?

Natural Gas

1.     NG19-009      In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval of its Refund Plan regarding Its Recovery of Manufactured Gas Plant Site Remediation Costs (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

n October 22, 2019, the Commission received a petition by NorthWestern Energy Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) for approval of its refund plan regarding its recovery of the manufactured gas plant (MGP) site remediation costs. The purpose of this filing is to update the refund mechanism established in NG16-010 where NorthWestern credited customers an over-collection related to MGP remediation allowed in docket NG11-003. Through the tracker established in NG16-010, NG17-015, and the first 10 months of the tracker established in NG18-015, NorthWestern has refunded approximately $7.7 million to customers with a balance of approximately $1.2 million remaining in the tracker to be refunded. NorthWestern notes that actual remediation costs have come in lower than the amount recovered through the tracker. NorthWestern proposes to continue the refund plan for an additional 12 months at higher credit rates than are currently in effect. NorthWestern proposes a December 1, 2019, effective date for the new credit rates.

     TODAY, shall the Commission approve NorthWestern’s refund plan regarding its recovery of Manufactured Gas Plant Site remediation costs with an effective date of December 1, 2019?

Items for Commission Discussion

Public Comment

Individuals who wish to make public comments to the commission may do so in person during this time. All who offer public comment are requested to sign in at the commission meeting. Time limits for comments may be determined at the discretion of the commission.


  1. Commissioners will attend the Critical Consumer Issues Forum’s Annual Kickoff Forum on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. CST at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

  2. Commissioners and staff will attend the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Annual Meeting November 17-20, 2019, at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.

  3. The next regular commission meeting will be Tuesday, November 26, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. CST in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, South Dakota.

  4. The PUC office will be closed November 28-29, 2019, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

  5. Commissioners and staff will meet with representatives of the South Dakota Electric Utility Companies on Thursday, December 5, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. CST at the Associated General Contractors conference room, 300 E. Capitol Avenue, Pierre, South Dakota. The agenda is to discuss company activities.

  6. Commission meetings are scheduled for December 10 and 20, 2019.

/s/Cindy Kemnitz       .
Cindy Kemnitz
Finance Manager
PUC Email
November 5, 2019