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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
September 27, 2011, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 412, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

NOTE:  If you wish to join this meeting by conference call, please contact the Commission at 605-773-3201 by 5:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, September 26, 2011.   Lines are limited and are given out on a first come, first served basis, subject to possible reassignment to accommodate persons who must appear in a proceeding. Ultimately, if you wish to participate in the Commission Meeting and a line is not available you may have to appear in person.

 NOTE:  To listen to the Commission Meeting live please go to the PUC's Web site www.puc.sd.gov and click on the LIVE link on the home page. The Commission requests persons who will only be listening to proceedings and not actively appearing in a case listen via the web cast to free phone lines for those who have to appear.  The Commission meetings are archived on the PUC's Web site under the Commission Actions tab, Click on "Commission Meeting Archives," to access the recordings.

NOTE:  Notice is further given to persons with disabilities that this Commission meeting is being held in a physically accessible place.  If you have special needs, please notify the Commission and we will make all necessary arrangements.

 AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING 

Consumer Reports

1.     Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission.  (Consumer Affairs:  Deb Gregg)

Consumer Complaint

1.      CT05-002        In the Matter of the Complaint filed by WWC License LLC against Venture Communications Cooperative Regarding Intercarrier Billings (Staff Attorney: Rolayne Ailts Wiest)

On March 21, 2005, WWC License LLC (WWC) filed a complaint against Venture Communications Cooperative (Venture). WWC is seeking reimbursement for alleged overpayments it made to Venture. WWC requests that the Commission order Venture to repay the amounts overpaid, to award double the damages pursuant to SDCL 49-31-14.1, to reimburse WWC's attorney's fees pursuant to SDCL 49-13-14.1 and to grant WWC such other and further relief that may be proper or equitable. On September 13, 2011, the Commission received a Joint Stipulation to Dismiss with Prejudice signed by both parties.

         TODAY, shall the Commission dismiss and close the docket?

Natural Gas

1.      NG11-003          In the Matter of the Application of NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Authority to Increase its Natural Gas Rates (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On May 20, 2011, the Commission received an application by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) for approval to increase rates for natural gas service in its South Dakota service territory by $4,123,035 annually or 7.20% based on NorthWestern's test year ending December 31, 2010.  The company states the proposed increase for a residential customer would be $8.31 per month based on an average usage of 63 therms per month. The proposed rates may potentially affect approximately 43,750 customers in NorthWestern's South Dakota service territory.

On September 9, 2011, the Commission received a petition from twenty-five (25) customers requesting to suspend the proposed rate increase requested by Northwestern Public Service and to hold public hearings to determine if such a rate should be allowed.

         TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?

2.      NG11-004         In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Energy for Approval of Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On August 26, 2011, the Commission received an application by NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) to update its fuel retention percentages for natural gas transportation service. NorthWestern's tariff provides that the fuel retention percentages be adjusted annually with the updated percentages to be effective October 1 of each year.

         TODAY, shall the Commission approve the tariff revisions?

3.      NG11-005          In the Matter of the Filing by NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Approval to Revise the Rates Included in the Contracts with Deviations Previously Approved in Dockets NG10-003, NG10-004, NG10-005, and NG10-006 (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On September 14, 2011, the Commission received an application by NorthWestern Energy to revise the rates approved in dockets NG10-003, NG10-004, NG10-005, and NG10-006 which are all Contracts with Deviations entered into with South Dakota Wheat Growers at facilities located in Aberdeen, Willow Lake, Andover and Yale, respectively. The initial rates approved in each of these filings were based on certain estimates of the cost to extend and upgrade facilities to serve these customers. The final cost for providing service pursuant to the Contracts has now been determined and is significantly lower than originally estimated. NorthWestern and Wheat Growers have now agreed to new lower rates for service provided under each of these contracts which reflect the actual lower costs. NorthWestern has requested approval with less than 30 days notice.

         TODAY, shall the Commission approve the revised rates applicable to contracts with deviations initially approved in Dockets NG10-003, NG10-004, NG10-005 and NG10-006 with less than 30 days notice?
 
Rule Making

1.      RM09-002       In the Matter of the Adoption of Rules Regarding Renewable, Recycled, and Conserved Energy (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds, Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Rolayne Ailts Wiest)

On December 14, 2009, Staff filed a request that the Commission open a rule making docket for the purposes of clarifying what utilities shall report in accordance with South Dakota's Renewable, Recycled, and Conserved Energy Objective. In their request, Staff also included a list of their suggestions regarding the reporting requirement. At its July 26, 2011, meeting, the Commission voted to make revisions to the proposed rules and accept additional comments. The Commission has received comments on the proposed revised rules.

         TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?

2.      RM10-001       In the Matter of the Request to Amend Rules Regarding ARSD Chapter 20:10:17 Gas and Electric Customer Billing. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler, Commission Attorney: Rolayne Ailts Wiest)

At its April 20, 2010, meeting, the Commission opened a rulemaking docket, at the request of Commission Staff, to examine the customer billing rules in ARSD Chapter 20:10:17 and to consider amendments to these rules. The Commission has received comments on proposed draft rules. At its July 26, 2011, meeting, the Commission voted to make revisions to the proposed rules and accept additional comments. The Commission has received comments on the proposed revised rules.

         TODAY, how shall the Commission proceed?

Telecommunications

1.      TC09-098           In the Matter of the Complaint filed by South Dakota Network, LLC against Sprint Communications Company L.P. Regarding Failure to Pay Intrastate Centralized Equal Access Charges and to Immediately Pay Undisputed Portions of SDN's Invoices (Staff Analyst: Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)  

On October 29, 2009, South Dakota Network (SDN) submitted this complaint against Sprint Communications Company L.P. (Sprint) for 1.) failing to pay intrastate centralized equal access charges at the rates approved by the Commission, 2.) failing to immediately pay undisputed portions of SDN's invoices as required by SDN's Tariff, and 3.) payment by Sprint of SDN's costs of action, reasonable attorneys fees incurred by SDN, and for twice the amount of damages sustained by SDN, if SDN is required to recover its damages by suit or on appeal. On September 7, 2011, Sprint filed a proposed procedural schedule. Sprint stated that the parties agreed to the terms of the proposed schedule except for paragraph nine. On September 9, 2011, the Commission received a Stipulation for Dismissal of Third Party Complaint of Sprint Communications Against Splitrock Properties.

         TODAY, shall the Commission approve the Stipulation for Dismissal and dismiss Sprint's Third Party Complaint? AND, shall the Commission adopt a procedural schedule?

2.      TC11-074           In the Matter of the Filing by OrbitCom, Inc. fka VP Telecom, Inc., for Approval of its Intrastate Switched Access Tariff (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

On June 21, 2011, OrbitCom, Inc. (OrbitCom) filed an application for approval of the company's switched access Tariff No. 2, to replace original Tariff No. 1. In Tariff No. 2, the company has modified its switched access rates to comply with the Commission's Order in RM05-002 requiring CLECs to conform to the rates of the Regional Bell Operating Company. Additionally, further revisions are included in Tariff No. 2 to clarify policies and further define rate categories. Orbitcom has proposed an effective date of May 30, 2011.

         TODAY, shall the Commission approve the tariff revisions?

3.      TC11-081           In the Matter of the Application of Spectrotel, Inc. d/b/a OneTouch Communications d/b/a Touch Base Communications for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Long Distance Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)  

On August 10, 2011, Spectrotel, Inc. d/b/a OneTouch Communications d/b/a Touch Base Communications (Spectrotel) filed an application for a certificate of authority to provide local service using unbundled network combinations available from the incumbent local exchange company (ILEC) and via resold services. Interexchange toll services will be provided via resale. Spectrotel proposes to offer resold interexchange voice communications services to residential and business customers throughout the state. Spectrotel has no plans to construct switching or transmission facilities in South Dakota.

         TODAY, shall the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority to Spectrotel?

Items for Commission Discussion 

Announcements 

  1. Commissioners will meet with representatives of CenturyLink on Friday, September 30, 2011, at 10 a.m., CDT, at the CenturyLink office, 125 S. Dakota Ave., Sioux Falls, S.D., for a company update and overview since the merger with Qwest.

  2. The Public Utilities Commission offices will be closed Monday, October 10, 2011, in observance of Native American Day.

  3. The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be held Tuesday, October 11, 2011, at 1:30 p.m., CDT, in Room 412 at the State Capitol Building, Pierre, S.D.

  4. The Public Utilities Commission offices will be closed Monday, October 10, 2011, in observance of Native American Day.

  5. Commission meetings are scheduled for October 25 and November 8, 2011.

 

/S/ Cindy Kemnitz
Cindy Kemnitz
Finance Manager
puc@state.sd.us
September 20, 2011