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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
January 4, 2022, at 9:30 A.M. CST
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota


Commissioner Chris Nelson called the meeting to order. Present were Commission Attorney: Karen Cremer; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Amanda Reiss and Kristen Edwards; Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Eric Paulson, and Joseph Rezac; Grain Warehouse Manager: Cody Chambliss; Consumer Affairs Manager: Deb Gregg; Staff: Juli Hedrick.

Present were: Kara Semmler, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Darla Pollman Rogers, Riter Rogers, LLP.

Joining the meeting by telephone were Commissioners: Kristie Fiegen and Gary Hanson; Commission Attorney: Adam de Hueck; Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen; Katelyn Lynch-Butcher, Cory Root, Renee White and Amanda Hosch, MidAmerican Energy Company; James Groft, James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company; Josh Wurgler, Bantz, Gosh, & Cremer, LLC representing James Valley; Patrick Mastel, Midcontinent Communications; J.G. Harrington, Cooley LLP, representing Midcontinent Communications.

Consumer Reports

The Commission received a total of 46 contacts since the last report was prepared for the December 21, 2021, Commission meeting.

Nine contacts were related to telecommunications services, 12 contacts were related to electric services, four contacts were related to natural gas services, six contacts were related to wireless services, four contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, two contacts were related to carbon pipelines and nine contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

1,922 of the 1,933 contacts received in 2021 have been resolved.


1.      TC21-124        In the Matter of the Approval of the Petition for Arbitration of an Interconnection Agreement Between Midcontinent Communications and James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place for docket TC21-124. An audio recording of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2022, January 4, 2022, recording located at:

      Commissioner Nelson moved to deny James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company’s Motion to Dismiss. Motion carried 3-0.

      Commissioner Nelson moved to grant Staff’s Motion to Bifurcate and establish a hearing schedule. Motion carried 3-0.  

      Commissioner Nelson moved to grant limited intervention to South Dakota Telecommunications Association. Motion carried 3-0

Gas and Electric

1.      GE21-001       In the Matter of Staff’s Request Regarding the February 2021 Cold Weather Event and Its Impact on Utility Fuel Clause Adjustments and Purchased Gas Adjustments (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen, Eric Paulson, Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorneys: Amanda Reiss, Kristen Edwards)  
Ms. Katelyn Lynch-Butcher, MidAmerican Energy Company (MidAmerican), asked that the Commission approve MidAmerican’s request to modify its purchased gas cost adjustment rate mitigation plan to extend the recovery period through April 2022. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, Staff Analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the request.

      Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve MidAmerican Energy Company’s requested modification to its Purchase Gas Cost Adjustment rate mitigation plan to extend the recovery period through April 2022. Motion carried 3-0.

Item for Commission Discussion

Commissioner Nelson asked questions about the PUC Staff’s appointment as receiver of Farmers Cooperative Elevator, Avon, South Dakota, by the 1st Judicial Circuit Court. Cody Chambliss, grain warehouse manager, answered questions about the receivership process.

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

/s/ Janeth A. Merriman                 .
Janeth A. Merriman
Administrative Specialist
January 4, 2022