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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
November 8, 2011, at 9:30 A.M. CST
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota


Chairman Gary Hanson called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commissioner Chris Nelson and Commissioner Kristie Fiegen; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Kara Semmler, and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: Dave Jacobson, Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Matthew Tysdal, Brittany Mehlhaff, and Bobbi Bourk; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Demaris Axthelm.

Also present were: Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing South Dakota Telecommunications Association, South Dakota Network, and Midstate Communications, Inc.; and Pam Bonrud and Sara Dannen, Northwestern Energy.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLC, representing Sprint Communications Company LP; Paul Lundberg, Lundberg Law Office, representing Aventure Communication Technology, LLC dba Aventure Communications; Claud Matney, Yvette LaFrentz, and Mike Uda, representing Oak Tree Energy, LLC.; Chris Madsen, Boyce, Greenfield, Pashby, and Welk, LLP, representing Qwest Corporation dba Century Link, QC; and Kathy Ford, Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith LLP, representing Midcontinent Communications.


1.      Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on October 25, 2011. (Staff: Joy Irving)

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the minutes of the Commission Meeting held on October 25, 2011. 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 80 contacts since the last report was prepared for the October 25, 2011 Commission meeting.

14 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 21 of the contacts involved electrical services, 13 contacts involved natural gas service, 1 contact involved gas and electric service, 8 contacts involved cell phone service, 12 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 11 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

2,490 of the 2,513 complaints received in 2011 have been resolved.


1.     EL11-006     In the Matter of the Complaint by Oak Tree Energy LLC against NorthWestern Energy for refusing to enter into a Purchase Power Agreement. (Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Staff Attorneys:  Kara Semmler, Ryan Soye)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding the Motion to Compel filed by Oak Tree Energy can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2011, November 8, 2011, recording located at:            

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Motion in part by requiring NorthWestern Energy to provide the avoided cost data requested by Oak Tree in Interrogatory No. 10 and Request for Production No. 22 for the 5 year and 10 year periods, including effecting service of the response no later than 15 days prior to Oak Tree's deadline under the Amend Procedural Schedule for its pre-filed direct testimony, but to deny the request for the 20 year period. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to amend the motion to add the 20 year period to the requirement as requested by Oak Tree. Motion failed 2-1. Hanson and Fiegen dissenting.


1.     TC10-026     In the Matter of the Complaint Filed by Sprint Communications Company, LP Against Native American Telecom, LLC Regarding Telecommunications Services. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Karen Cremer, staff attorney, requested to defer TC10-026 to the November 22, 2011 Commission meeting.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to defer docket to the November 22, 2011 meeting. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC11-010     In the Matter of the Filing by Aventure Communication Technology, LLC dba Aventure Communications for Approval of its Switched Access Services Tariff No. 3 (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Paul Lundberg, representing Aventure Communications, asked the Commission to withdraw the tariff filing. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, stated she supported the motion to withdraw.

     Chairman Hanson moved to grant the Motion to Withdraw the tariff filing. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC11-087     In the Matter of the Application of Native American Telecom, LLC for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Karen Cremer, staff attorney, requested to defer TC11-087 to the November 22, 2011 Commission meeting.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to defer docket TC11-087 to the November 22, 2011 meeting. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 10:32 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for November 22, 2011.


/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
PUC Email
November 8, 2011