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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
June 11, 2019, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building

Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Commissioner Gary Hanson called the meeting to order. Commissioners: Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen; Commission Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Adam de Hueck; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards; Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen, Eric Paulson, Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber and Lorena Reichert; Consumer Affairs Manager: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Kaitlyn Baucom.

Present were:
Brad Schardin, Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Cathy Sabers, Jason Keil and Kyle White, Black Hills Power Inc. dba Black Hills Energy; and William Taylor, Taylor Law Firm, LLC, representing Energy of Utah, LLC and Fall River Solar, LLC.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss; Tamie Aberle, Nathan Bensen and Stephanie Bosch, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc.; Chad Felderman, Dakota Energy Cooperative Inc.; Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy; Michele Nielson, Sioux Valley-Southwestern Cooperative, Inc.; Bryce Haugen and Jason Grenier, Otter Tail Power Company; Mary Buley, Olson and Thielen, representing Valley Telephone Company; Gene DeJordy, Dakelyn Consulting, representing North American Local, LLC; Mary Jo Biegler and Rob Fiedler, Park Region Telephone Company, representing Valley Telephone Company; and Eric Pauli and Steve Kolbeck, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy.

(NOTE: For the purpose of continuity, these minutes are not necessarily in chronological order.)

Consumer Reports

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

The Commission received a total of 45 contacts since the last report was prepared for the May 28, 2019 Commission meeting.

Eight contacts were related to telecommunication services, nine contacts were related to electrical services, four contacts were related to natural gas service, five contacts were related to wireless service, five contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, one contact was related to the Keystone XL Pipeline and 13 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC. 

Contacts received in 2019: 582 of the 590 have been resolved.

Electric

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, Brittany Mehlhaff; 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, June 11, 2019, recording located at: https://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2019/puc06112019.mp3.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the motion to compel for all of the discovery requests identified by staff in the Motion to Compel Granted box of its conclusion with the exception of discovery request 75.
     
     Commissioner Fiegen moved to amend the main motion to include discovery requests 111, 112, and 113. Motion to amend carried 2-1. Commissioner Nelson dissenting.

     Main motion as amended passed 3-0.

2.     EL19-010     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc., for Approval of the Annual Update to Its Infrastructure Rider Rate (Staff Analysts: Joseph Rezac, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc. (MDU), asked that the Commission approve the request to increase the Infrastructure Rider Rate tariff to $0.00774 per kWh and approve the associated tariff sheet with an effective date of July 1, 2019. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve MDU’s request.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the request to increase the Infrastructure Rider Rate tariff to $0.00774 per kWh and approve the associated tariff sheet with an effective date of July 1, 2019. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL19-017     In the Matter of the Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy and Dakota Energy Cooperative Inc. (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (Northwestern) and Mr. Chad Felderman, Dakota Energy Cooperative Inc. (Dakota Energy), agreed to the service rights exception. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the request.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the requested service rights exception between NorthWestern Energy and Dakota Energy. Motion carried 3-0.

4.     EL19-020     In the Matter of Otter Tail Power Company’s 2018 South Dakota Energy Efficiency Plan Status Report and 2019 Annual Filing to Update the Energy Efficiency Adjustment Rider (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL19-020. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2019, June 11, 2019, recording located at: https://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2019/puc06112019.mp3 .     

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve Otter Tail’s 2018 Energy Efficiency Plan Status Report, approve the 2018 financial incentive of $134,700 and approve the proposed Energy Efficiency Adjustment Factor of $0.00164/kWh with an effective date of July 1, 2019. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     EL19-021     In the Matter of the Request for Approval of an Electric Service Territory Boundary Agreement between Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

     A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL19-021. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2019, June 11, 2019, recording located at: https://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2019/puc06112019.mp3 .
     

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

6.     EL19-023     In the Matter of the Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Sioux Valley-Southwestern Cooperative, Inc. dba Sioux Valley Energy (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Brad Schardin, Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Southeastern) and Ms. Michele Nielson, Sioux Valley-Southwestern Cooperative, Inc. dba Sioux Valley Energy (Sioux Valley), agreed to the service rights exception. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the request.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the requested service rights exception between Southeastern and Sioux Valley. Motion carried 3-0.

7.     EL19-025     In the Matter of Otter Tail Power Company’s Petition for Approval of Phase-In Rider Rate (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission assess Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail) a filing fee in the amount of up to $250,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date and authorize the executive director to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Mr. Bryce Haugen, Otter Tail, stated Otter Tail does not object to the filing fee.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to assess a filing fee in the amount of up to $250,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date and give the executive director authority to enter into necessary consulting contracts. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC19-005     In the Matter of the Application of LTE Wireless Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange and Interexchange Long Distance Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant LTE Wireless Inc.’s request to withdraw its application without prejudice and close the docket.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant LTE Wireless’ request to withdraw its Application without prejudice and close the docket. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC19-009     In the Matter of the Petition of North American Local, LLC for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in the State of South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Gene DeJordy, Dakelyn Consulting, representing North American Local, LLC (North American Local), objected to Boomerang Wireless LLC’s late filed intervention. Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, stated staff does not object to Boomerang’s request for intervention.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to deny intervention to Boomerang Wireless LLC without prejudice. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC19-011     In the Matter of the Request of Valley Telephone Company for Certification Regarding Its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Study Area 361495) (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Commission Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Mary Jo Biegler, Park Region Telephone Company representing Valley Telephone Company (Company), asked that the Commission provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the USAC regarding the proper use of federal universal service support. The Company also requested a waiver. Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, stated that while staff does not support the company’s request for a waiver, staff is not opposed to the request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant a five-year waiver and provide a certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the Universal Service Administration Company regarding the use of Federal Universal Service Support. Motion carried 2-1. Commissioner Fiegen dissenting.

There being no further business, at the hour of 11:59 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Specialist
PUC Email
June 11, 2019