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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
January 21, 2020, at 1:30 P.M. CST
Matthew Training Center, Foss 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 10:00 a.m. CST on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 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 December 20, 2019, and the Ad Hoc Meeting held on December 30, 2019 (Staff: Maggie Dell)

Consumer Reports

1.      Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)


1.      EL18-059        In the Matter of Lookout Solar Park I, LLC for a Permit of a Solar Energy Facility in Oglala Lakota County (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

On December 17, 2018, Lookout Solar Park I, LLC (Applicant or Lookout Solar) filed an application to construct an approximately 110 megawatt (MW) solar energy conversion facility with up to 500,000 solar panels and a 230-kV Substation (Project). In addition, Applicant will construct access roads, a generator step-up transformer, an operation and maintenance facility, buried transmission lines, parking areas, and laydown areas for construction. The Project area is on approximately 810 acres of privately-owned land on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota. The Project area is located approximately 22 miles east of Buffalo Gap, South Dakota, in Township 41 North (T41N), Range 48 West (R48W), Section 36 and the southern portion of Section 35. The Project is located on individually-owned Indian trust land on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The 230-kV substation will be located on 10 acres of private land located near Cottonwood Cutoff on Section 14 (parcel 003478) in T6S, R8E or in Section 11 (parcel 0034688) in T6S, R8E. On November 1, 2019, the Report of the Local Review Committee was filed. On December 9, 2019, the Parties a filed a Settlement Stipulation and a Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Stipulation. No later than January 16, 2020, the Parties will file a Revised Settlement Stipulation and Joint Motion for Approval of the Revised Settlement Stipulation.

         TODAY, shall the Commission grant, deny, or grant with conditions, a permit for the construction of an energy conversion facility to Lookout Solar Park 1, LLC pursuant to SDCL 49-41B-24? OR, how shall the Commission proceed?

2.      EL19-028        In the Matter of the Petition of Black Hills Power Inc. dba Black Hills Energy for Approval of Deferred Accounting Treatment for SD Sun Project Transaction and Development Costs (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

On July 31, 2019, Black Hills Power Inc. dba Black Hills Energy (BHE or Company) filed a Petition requesting approval from the Commission to utilize deferred accounting and establish a regulatory asset related to the acquisition of development rights for three solar energy projects collectively known as the SD Sun Projects. In March of 2018, the Company acquired the ownership interests in the SD Sun Project Companies, which at the time were owners of the SD Sun Projects being developed as Qualifying Facility projects under the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA). The SD Sun Projects were in various stages of development at the time of acquisition, and BHE was obligated to purchase the eventual output from these projects pursuant to PURPA. The Company states the decision to purchase the development rights of these projects would avoid approximately $4,700,000 in annual costs for fuel and purchased power for customers. BHE also states it evaluated various options for developing the SD Sun Projects as a utility-owned resource but determined that it was not economically feasible to do so. BHE seeks approval to amortize the transaction and development costs related to the SD Sun Projects over a period of time beginning September 1, 2019, through December 31, 2022. BHE states it will not seek an increase in customer rates as a result of the accounting treatment requested. On August 14, 2019, Fall River Solar, LLC filed a Petition to Intervene. On October 2, 2019, the Commission issued an Order Denying Intervention. On January 14, 2020, the Company filed a Request for Withdrawal of the pending petition without prejudice pursuant to a settlement stipulation in dockets EL17-006 and EL17-008.

         TODAY, shall the Commission grant the Company’s request to withdraw the petition without prejudice?

3.      EL20-002           In the Matter of Commission Staff’s Request for an Order to Show Cause regarding Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber, Eric Paulson; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

On July 26, 2019, in Docket EL19-003, the Commission issued to Crowned Ridge, LLC (Crowned Ridge) a Final Decision and Order Granting Permit to Construct Facility; Notice of Entry with Permit Conditions (Permit) for the Crowned Ridge Wind facility in Grant and Codington Counties. On January 13, 2020, staff filed a Petition to Show Cause requesting the Commission to issue an Order to Show Cause requiring Crowned Ridge to come forward and show cause as to why it should not be found in violation of SDCL 49-41B-25.2 and Permit Condition 2 for failure to equip the Crowned Ridge Wind facility with an aircraft detection lighting system (ADLS). 

         TODAY, shall the Commission issue an Order to Show Cause? OR, how shall the Commission proceed?

Gas and Electric

1.      GE19-002          In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for the Approval of Its Reconciliation and Annual Report for 2018 and 2018 Reconciliation for the Energy Efficiency Cost Recovery Factor (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

On April 12, 2019, the Commission received a filing from MidAmerican Energy Company (MidAmerican) that included MidAmerican’s 2018 Energy Efficiency Plan Annual Report and reconciliation of the Energy Efficiency Plan cost recoveries for the 2018 calendar year. Further, MidAmerican requested approval of its 2019 Energy Efficiency Cost Recovery Factors that account for the 2018 reconciliation amounts, the 2018 performance incentive, and the 2019 Energy Efficiency Plan budget approved by the Commission in docket GE17-002. MidAmerican requested an effective date of May 31, 2019, for the Energy Efficiency Cost Recovery Factors and accompanying tariff sheets. On April 29, 2019, MidAmerican responded to staff’s data requests. On September 30, 2019, MidAmerican submitted a supplemental filing outlining expected total resource costs scores and requested further guidance from the Commission. On November 1, 2019, the Commission ordered MidAmerican to end its energy efficiency measures and programs. On December 23, 2019, MidAmerican filed a request to zero-out its nonresidential gas and electric factors.

         TODAY, shall the Commission approve the proposed tariff revisions?

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.   The PUC office will be closed Monday, January 20, 2020, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

2.   The PUC will host a Briefing for Legislators on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at 4:00 p.m. CST in Room 414 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, South Dakota. The agenda is to discuss current issues related to renewable energy development, telecommunications, grain warehouses, pipeline safety and energy regulation.

3.   The PUC will host an Open House for Legislators on Thursday, January 23, 2020, 7:30-11:00 a.m. CST in the PUC office, first floor of the State Capitol Building, Pierre, South Dakota.

4.   Commissioners and staff will meet with representatives of NorthWestern Energy on Thursday, January 30, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. CST in the Capitol Lake Visitor Center, Pierre, South Dakota. The agenda is to discuss an update of NorthWestern Energy’s operations, finance and customer service activities.

5.   The next regular commission meeting will be Monday, February 3, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. CST in Room 413 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, South Dakota.

6.   Commission meetings are scheduled for February 18 and March 6, 2020.


/s/Cindy Kemnitz                                                                     .

Cindy Kemnitz
Finance Manager
PUC Email
January 14, 2020