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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 12, 2020, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Telephonic – This was the fifth meeting the Commission held telephonically due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Gary Hanson called the telephonic meeting to order. 

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Commissioners: Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen; Commission Attorneys: Adam de Hueck and Karen Cremer; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards and Amanda Reiss; Staff Analysts: Lorena Reichert, Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber and Brittany Mehlhaff; Consumer Affairs Manager: Deb Gregg; Staff: Kaitlyn Baucom.

Jason Danowsky, FosterDanowsky, LLP, representing Simwood, Inc.; William Taylor, Taylor Law Firm, LLC, representing Fall River Solar, LLC; Cathy Sabers, Black Hills Power, Inc. dba Black Hills Energy; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Meridian Wind Project, LLC.

Administration

1.   Approval of Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on April 29, 2020 (Staff: Macy Jo Murren)        

         Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission meeting held on April 29, 2020. Motion carried 3-0.

Consumer Reports

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

         The Commission received a total of 35 contacts since the last report was prepared for the April 29, 2020, Commission meeting.

         Eight contacts were related to telecommunication services, 12 contacts were related to electrical services, two contacts were related to natural gas service, four contacts were related to wireless service,  two contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, one contact was related to wind energy,  and six contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

         396 of the 404 contacts received in 2020 have been resolved.

Telecommunications

1.      TC20-002        In the Matter of the Application of Simwood Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange and Interexchange Long Distance Services in the State of South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

         Mr. Jason Danowsky, FosterDanowsky LLP, representing Simwood Inc., asked that the Commission grant Simwood Inc. a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange and Interexchange Long Distance Services in the State of South Dakota.  Ms. Lorena Reichert, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the request with the conditions that, for retail purposes, Simwood Inc. not offer any prepaid services, including prepaid calling cards, and does not accept or require any deposits or advance payments, without prior approval of the Commission and that Simwood Inc. be subject to rural safeguards. Commissioner Nelson questioned why the brochure provided in a data request mentioned prepaid fees. Mr. Danowsky responded that he would bind his client to not offering prepaid fees.

         Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Application of Simwood Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange and Interexchange Long Distance Services in the State of South Dakota, including staff’s conditions.  Motion carried 2-1, Nelson dissenting.

 

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 for docket EL18-038. An audio recording of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2020, May 12, 2020 recording located at: https://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2020/puc05122020.mp3

        
Commissioner Hanson moved to grant Black Hills Energy’s Motion to Continue Administrative Hearing and Scheduling Order.  Motion carried 2-1, Nelson dissenting.

2.         EL20-013          In the Matter of the Application by Meridian Wind Project, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility and a 345-kV Transmission Facility in Hyde County, South Dakota (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

        Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission assess the statutory filing fee.  Mr. Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, representing Meridian Wind Project, LLC, agreed with staff’s recommendation.

        
Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant a
filing fee not to exceed $310,000 with an initial deposit of $8,000 and authorize the executive director to enter into necessary consulting contracts.  Motion carried 3-0.

         There being no further business, at the hour of 10:34 a.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.    

 

/s/Macy Jo Murren_______
Macy Jo Murren
Administrative Specialist
puc@state.sd.us
May 12, 2020