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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
January 8, 2019, at 9:30 A.M. CST
Matthew Training Center, Joe Foss Building, 523 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, South Dakota


Chairperson Kristie Fiegen called the meeting to order. Present were: Commissioners: Chris Nelson and Gary Hanson; Commission Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Adam de Hueck; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards and Amanda Reiss; Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Consumer Affairs Manager: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Kaitlyn Baucom and Leah Mohr.

Present were: William Taylor, Taylor Law Firm, LLC, representing Energy of Utah, LLC and Fall River Solar, LLC; Pam Bonrud, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; and Cathy Sabers and Jason Keil, Black Hills Power Inc. dba Black Hills Energy.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Pipeline Safety Manager: Mary Zanter; Melissa Baruth and Kris Doherty, NorthWestern Energy Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; and Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.

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 35 contacts since the last report was prepared for the December 28, 2018, Commission meeting.

Four contacts involved telecommunication services, six contacts were related to electrical services, one contact was related to natural gas service, 11 contacts were related to wireless service, seven contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry and six contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

Contacts received in 2018: 1,383 of the 1,383 have been resolved.

Contacts received in 2019: 25 of the 32 have been resolved.


1.     EL18-038     In the Matter of the Complaint of Energy of Utah, LLC and Fall River Solar, LLC Against Black Hills Power Inc. dba Black Hills Energy for Determination of Avoided Cost (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL18-038. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2019, January 8, 2019, recording located at:

     Commissioner Nelson moved to direct the parties to use BHE’s concept to develop a procedural schedule to be brought before the Commission at its next regularly scheduled meeting. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL18-057     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and Cam-Wal Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Darren Kearney; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

     The docket was deferred until a later Commission meeting.


1.     Election of a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Commission (Commission Attorney: Adam de Hueck)

South Dakota Codified Law 49-1-8 states in part that, “The members of the Commission shall elect a chairperson by majority vote and prescribe his duties.” SDCL 49-1-12 requires that, “Every vote and official action of the Public Utilities Commission shall be entered of record and its proceedings shall be public upon the request of either party or any person interested.” SDCL 1-25-1 requires that all official meetings of Commission be open to the public. Accordingly, the determination of the Commission’s leadership structure shall be made at this public meeting.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to nominate Commissioner Hanson for the position of Chairperson. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to nominate Commissioner Nelson for the position of Vice Chairperson. Motion carried 3-0. 

Pipeline Safety

1.     PS18-002     In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for a Waiver of 49 CFR ยง 192.481(a) (Pipeline Safety Program Manager: Mary Zanter, Pipeline Safety Inspector: Boice Hillmer; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Pam Bonrud, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern), asked that the Commission approve the requested waiver. Ms. Mary Zanter, Pipeline Safety Manger, recommended that the Commission grant approval to NorthWestern’s request.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant the requested waiver with staff’s conditions. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 10:43 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Specialist
PUC Email
Janaury 8, 2019