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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
January 7, 2020, at 9:30 A.M. CST
Room 414, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

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

Present were: Amber Christenson, self; Al Robish, self; Brian Riniker, self; Miles Schumacher, Lynn, Jackson, Shultz and Lebrun, PC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC.; Brian Murphy, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC; Mark Thompson, Richard Lampeter, David Gil, Joshua Tran, Sean Harrington, and Jay Haley, Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC; Wayne Borgheiinck, self; Roger Angerhofer, self; Gordon Woods, South Dakota Intrastate Pipeline Co.; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, LLP, representing Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Division of MDU Resources Group, Inc.; Bill Van Camp, Olinger, Lovald, McCahren, Van Camp & Konrad, P.C., representing Ring-Neck Energy & Feed, LLC, dba Ring-Neck Energy, LLC; Paul Bachand, Moreno, Lee & Bachand, P.C., representing South Dakota Intrastate Pipeline Co.; and Jason Keil and Jerrad Hammer, Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: David Hessler, Hessler Associates, Inc., representing Staff; Kristi Mogen, self; Tamie Aberle Travis Jacobson, Garret Senger, Jordan Hatzenbuhler, Stephanie Bosch, Kevin Connell, and Shawn Nieuwsma, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Tyler Wilhelm, Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC; Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Energy; and Marc Eyre and Todd Brink, Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills 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 47 contacts since the last report was prepared for the December 20, 2019 Commission meeting.

Eleven contacts were related to telecommunication services, nine contacts were related to electrical services, one contact was related to natural gas services, six contacts were related to wireless service, six contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, three contacts were related to Wind Energy, four contacts were related to the Grain Warehouse Program, one contacts was referred to One Call and six contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

Contacts received in 2019:1,258 of the 1,261 have been resolved.

Contacts received in 2020: 5 of the 15 have been resolved.

Electric

* Dockets EL17-006 and EL17-008 were heard together.

1.     EL17-006    In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy for Approval of 2017 Transmission Facility Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

2.     EL17-008    In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy for Approval of Its 2017 Environmental Improvement Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Jason Keil, Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy (BHE), asked that the Commission grant the Joint Motion for Approval of Second Amendment to Settlement Stipulation and approve the terms and conditions stipulated therein. Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission grant the joint motion.

      In dockets EL17-006 and EL17-008, Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Joint Motion for Approval of Second Amendment to Settlement Stipulation and approve the terms and conditions stipulated therein. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL19-003    In the Matter of the Application by Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility in Grant and Codington Counties (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber, Eric Paulson; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place for docket EL19-003. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2020, January 7, 2020, recording located at: https://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2020/puc01072020.mp3.

      Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the limited and temporary waiver on the conditions that 1) the waiver will expire on August 1, 2020, 2) Applicant will file monthly progress reports regarding the status of the LNTE installation beginning April 1, 2020, 3) Applicant shall curtail sixteen turbines at six meters per second using a 0.3 ground attenuation factor, and 4) Applicant shall conduct post-construction sound compliance testing in accordance with Condition 26 of the Final Order during the Temporary Waiver period and again after LNTEs are installed on all turbines.

      Commissioner Fiegen moved to amend the main motion to strike the date August 1, 2020 and replace it with September 15, 2020. Motion to amend carries 3-0.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to strike the 0.3 ground attenuation factor and replace it with 0.5 ground attenuation factor and to curtail 4 turbines (29,44,48 and 95) rather than sixteen turbines. Second Motion to amend fails 1-2, Commissioners Hanson and Nelson dissenting.

     Main Motion as amended carried 2-1, Commissioner Hanson dissenting.

4.     EL19-040    In the Matter of the Petition of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc., for Approval of Deferred Accounting Treatment for Retiring of the Lewis & Clark 1, Heskett 1 and Heskett 2 Coal-Fired Generators (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU) asked that the Commission approve MDU’s request for Deferred Accounting Treatment for costs related to the retirement of the Lewis & Clark 1, Heskett 1 and Heskett 2 Coal-Fired Generators until Company’s next rate case. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve MDU’s request.

      Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.’s request for Deferred Accounting Treatment for costs related to the retirement of the Lewis & Clark 1, Heskett 1 and Heskett 2 Coal-Fired Generators until Company’s next rate case with no guarantee for cost recovery. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     EL19-041    In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for Approval of Tariff Revisions to Its Rates for Rate 95 and Rate 96 (Staff Analyst: Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Jordan Hudson, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU), asked that the Commission approve Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.’s tariff revisions with an effective date of January 8, 2020. Mr. Eric Paulson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve MDU’s request.

      Commissioner Nelson moved to approve Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.’s tariff revisions with an effective date of January 8, 2020. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     EL19-042    In the Matter of the Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy and Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Jeff Decker, NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (Northwestern), asked that the Commission approve the requested service rights exception between NorthWestern and Central Electric Cooperative Inc. Mr. Joseph Rezac, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the request.

      Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the requested service rights exception between NorthWestern Energy and Central Electric Cooperative Inc. Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.     NG19-011    In the Matter of the Joint Request for Service Rights Exception between NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy and Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place for docket NG19-011. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2020, January 7, 2020, recording located at: https://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2020/puc01072020.mp3.

      Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Stipulation and approve the rates, revised tariff sheets, terms and conditions stipulated therein. Motion carried 3-0.

Public Comment

Mr. Wayne Borgheiinck made public comments regarding Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC.

There being no further business, at the hour of 12:13 p.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Specialist
PUC Email
January 7, 2020