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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
December 28, 2018, at 9:30 A.M. CST
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Commissioner Chris Nelson called the meeting to order. Present were: Commission Attorney: Adam de Hueck; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards and Amanda Reiss; Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen, Jon Thurber and Darren Kearney; and Staff: Leah Mohr and Kaitlyn Baucom.

Present were: Bob Mercer, KELOLAND reporter; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; and Darla Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Northrup, LLP, representing RC Technologies.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Commissioners: Kristie Fiegen and Gary Hanson; Commission Staff: Eric Paulson and Lorena Reichert; Lisa Agrimonti, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., representing Dakota Range III, LLC; Eric Pauli, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Jason Keil, Black Hills Power Inc., dba Black Hills Energy; Kevin Kouba and Cary Stephenson, Otter Tail Power Company; Kelly Orcutt, Brian Rybarik and Gretta Knight, MidAmerican Energy Company; Ken Schlimgen, Central Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern Energy Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Mike Lemburg, Grand Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Al Lubeck, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC; Sharon Thomas, Inteserra Consulting Group, representing Lingo Communications North, LLC; and Shani Harmon, Orrick, LLP, representing Lookout Solar Park I, LLC.

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings held on November 27 and December 11, 2018, and the Ad Hoc meeting held on November 20, 2018. (Staff: Joy Lashley)

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meetings held on November 27 and December 11, 2018, and the Ad Hoc meeting held on November 20, 2018. 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 63 contacts since the last report was prepared for the December 11, 2018, Commission meeting.

Eight contacts involved telecommunication services, 34 contacts were related to electrical services, one contact was related to natural gas service, three contacts were related to wireless service, one contact was related to wind energy, three contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, one contact was related to the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, three contacts were related to the Grain Warehouse Division and nine contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC. 

Contacts received in 2018: 1,368 of the 1,380 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL18-024     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between the City of Sioux Falls and Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve the electric service boundary agreement between the City of Sioux Falls and Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy. Mr. Eric Pauli, Xcel Energy, stated Xcel Energy had no objection to the request.

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

2.     EL18-029     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power Inc., dba Black Hills Energy for Approval of Its Tax Cut and Jobs Act Proposal (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Black Hills Energy’s revised rates and associated tariff revisions on less than 30 days’ notice with an effective date of January 1, 2019. Mr. Jason Keil, Black Hills Power Inc., dba Black Hills Energy, asked that the Commission approve Black Hills Energy’s request.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve Black Hills Energy’s revised rates and associated tariff revisions on less than 30 days’ notice with an effective date of January 1, 2019. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL18-045     In the Matter of the Application of Flying Cow Wind, LLC for a Facility Permit to Construct a 345 kV Transmission Line and Associated Facilities in Deuel County (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

     No action was taken as there were no applications for party status.

4.     EL18-046     In the Matter of the Application of Dakota Range III, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility and a 345-kV Transmission Line in Grant and Roberts Counties (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, stated there were no applications for party status and recommended that the Commission grant the motion to adopt a procedural schedule and that discovery responses, except responses to Final Discovery, be due ten business days after service. Ms. Lisa Agrimonti, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., representing Dakota Range III, LLC, stated Dakota Range III, LLC did not object to the request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the motion to adopt a procedural schedule as proposed.Motion carried 3-0.

5.     EL18-050     In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of Tariff Revisions regarding Updates to Standard Residential Bill Form (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Natural Gas

1.     NG18-016     In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of Tariff Revisions regarding Updates to Standard Residential Bill Form (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Brian Rybarik, MidAmerican Energy Company (MidAmerican), asked that the Commission approve the proposed tariff revisions with an effective date of December 31, 2018, in dockets EL18-050 and NG18-016. Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve MidAmerican’s request.

     In dockets EL18-050 and NG18-016, Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the proposed tariff revisions with an effective date of December 31, 2018. Motion carried 3-0.

6.     EL18-054     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. and NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy. (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve the electric service territory boundary agreement between Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Central Electric) and NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy. Mr. Ken Schlimgen, Central Electric and Mr. Ron Gogolin, NorthWestern Energy, agreed to the request.

     Commissioner Nelson approve the proposed electric service territory boundary agreement. Motion carried 3-0.

7.     EL18-055     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Otter Tail Power Company and Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative Inc. (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the electric service territory boundary agreement between Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail) and Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative Inc.  Mr. Kevin Kouba, Otter Tail, agreed to the request.

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

8.     EL18-056     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and Grand Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU) and Grand Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Grand Electric). Ms. Tamie Aberle, MDU and Mr. Mike Lemburg, Grand Electric, agreed to the request.

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

9.     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)

Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission assess a filing fee not to exceed $250,000 with an initial non-refundable deposit of $8,000 and authorize the executive director to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Ms. Shani Harmon, Orrick, LLP, representing Lookout Solar Park I, LLC (Lookout Solar Park), stated Lookout Solar Park had no objections to staff's requests.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to assess a filing fee pursuant to SDCL 49-41B-12, not to exceed $250,000 with an initial non-refundable deposit of $8,000 and authorize the executive director to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0.

Gas and Electric

1.     GE17-003      In the Matter of Staff’s Request to Investigate the Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on South Dakota Utilities (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Montana-Dakota’s (MDU) revised rates and associated tariff revisions on less than 30 days’ notice with an effective date of January 1, 2019. Ms. Tamie Aberle, MDU, stated MDU looked forward to completing the process and asked for Commission approval.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve Montana-Dakota’s revised rates and associated tariff revisions on less than 30 days’ notice with an effective date of January 1, 2019. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC18-056     In the Matter of the Application of LCRHUB Inc for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, asked that the Commission dismiss the Application without prejudice and close the docket.
    
     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant staff’s request to dismiss the Application without prejudice and close the docket. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC18-059     In the Matter of the Petition of RC Technologies for Resolution of Disputed Railroad Crossing Application (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket TC18-059. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2018, December 28, 2018, recording located at: https://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2018/puc12282018.mp3.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to assess all costs of the docket to Sunflour Railroad, Inc. and close the docket. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC18-060     In the Matter of the Approval of a Wireline Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Valley Communications, Inc. dba Valley FiberCom for the State of South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Al Lubeck, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC (CenturyLink), asked that the Commission approve the interconnection agreement between CenturyLink and Valley Communications, Inc. dba Valley FiberCom. Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, stated that the agreement was properly filed, properly executed, and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions, and no comments were filed. Ms. Reiss recommended that the Commission grant approval.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the interconnection agreement.Motion carried 3-0.

4.     TC18-061     In the Matter of the Filing by Lingo Communications North, LLC fka Ionex Communications North, LLC dba Birch Communications for Approval of Its Access Services Tariff No. 8 (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Sharon Thomas, Lingo Communications North, LLC (Lingo), asked that the Commission approve Lingo’s Switched Access Services Tariff No. 8. Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission grant approval with an effective date December 31, 2018.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve Lingo Communications North, LLC’s Switched Access Services Tariff No. 8. Motion carried 3-0.

ADDENDUM TO THE
AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING

1.     EL18-031     In the Matter of the Filing by Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of Tariff Revisions to Facilitate Implementation of a New Customer Information System (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)
Mr. Cary Stephenson, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail), asked that the Commission approve Otter Tail’s request to revise the effective date of the tariff revisions to February 1, 2019. Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission approve Otter Tail’s request.

Commissioner Nelson moved to approve Otter Tail’s request to revise the effective date of the tariff revisions to February 1, 2019. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 10:30 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Specialist
PUC Email
December 28, 2018