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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Tuesday, November 28, 2006, at 9:30 A.M.
State Capitol Building, Room 468
Pierre, South Dakota
MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING
Present were Chairman Dustin Johnson; Vice Chairman Gary Hanson; Executive Director Patty Van Gerpen; Deputy Executive Director Heather Forney; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Commission Attorneys Rolayne Wiest and John Smith; Staff Attorneys Karen Cremer and Kara Van Bockern; Staff Analysts Keith Senger, Harlan Best, Dave Jacobson, Steve Wegman and Bob Knadle; Consumer Affairs Supervisor, Deb Gregg; and Administrative Secretaries Tina Douglas and Demaris Axthelm.
Also present were: Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson, representing Midcontinent Communications and Verizon; Rod Bowar, Kennebec Telephone Company; Darla Polllman Rogers; Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Brown, representing Local Exchange Carriers Association (LECA) and Golden West Companies and Venture Communications Cooperative; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson Palmer, Goodsell & Nelson, representing WWC License, LLC and Sprint Communications Company L.P.; Bryan Roth, McCook Cooperative Telephone.
Joining the meeting by telephone were: Steve Kolbeck Commissioner elect; James Overcash, Woods & Aiken, representing Brookings Municipal Utilities d/b/a Swiftel Communications; Ben Dickens, Blooston Mordkofsky Dickens Duffy & Pendergast representing Brookings Municipal Utilities d/b/a Swiftel Communications; Meredith Moore, Cutler & Donahoe, representing Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative Inc.; Denny Law, Golden West Companies; Marlene Bennett, Martin Group; Steve Rowell, Alltel; Denise Hargan & Dana Steele, Dish Network; Jerry Reisenauer, West River Cooperative Telephone Company.
1. Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
Ms. Deb Gregg reported that the Commission had received a total of 2,243 consumer contacts during 2006. Since the last report was prepared for the November 14, 2006 Commission meeting, 72 of these contacts had been received; 21 contacts involved telecommunications services; 5 contacts involved electricity issues; 18 contacts involved natural gas issues; 7 contacts involved cellular phone issues; 12 contacts involved Do Not Call issues; 0 contacts involved wind energy issues; and 9 contacts involved issues not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. In 2006, 1,925 of the 2,243 complaints registered have been resolved informally. In 2005, 1,692 of the 1,885 complaints registered have been resolved informally.
1. CT05-001 In the Matter of the Complaint filed by WWC License LLC against Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc., Vivian Telephone Company, Sioux Valley Telephone Company, Armour Independent Telephone Company, Bridgewater Canistota Independent Telephone Company and Kadoka Telephone Company Regarding Intercarrier Billings. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Rolayne Ailts Wiest)
Chairman Johnson moved that the Commission find in part for Golden West and deny WWC's claim for refund of amounts charged by Golden West for transitting WWC's intraMTA traffic from Golden West's Rapid City meet point to Vivian Telephone Company's Custer end office and either paid by WWC to Golden West or credited by Golden West against monies otherwise owed to WWC.
Chairman Johnson further moved that the Commission find in part for WWC and grant its claim for refund of transiting charges to the extent that such charges were for interMTA traffic, based on Golden West's admissions in the record that it did not bill other carriers for this traffic.
Chairman Johnson further moved that because the terms of the parties settlement are not known to the Commission and the Commission does not know how the terms of the agreement may affect the calculation of the refund amount for interMTA traffic and of interest on this amount, that WWC file its calculations of the interMTA refund amount and explanation of them by December 15, 2006, that Golden West file its responsive calculations and explanation by December 22, 2006, and that WWC file any reply calculations and explanation by December 29, 2006, and that Commission Counsel be authorized to amend its schedule as needed to accommodate the parties' requirements.
Chairman Johnson also moved that except to the extent that the settlement agreement establishes other terms governing the interest applicable to the interMTA transiting charges at issue,that the Commission find and conclude that interest shall be calculated at a rate of 10 percent simple interest in accordance with SDCL 21-1-13.1 and applicable case law and that the interest rate set forth in Section 7.2.4 of the parties interconnection agreement is not applicable to these charges.
The Commission encouraged the parties to communicate and cooperate regarding the determination of the refund and interest amounts under this decision and, if possible, to reach a final accord on the transiting issue to bring this matter to a conclusion.
Vice Chairman Hanson seconds the Motion. Motion passed 2-0
1. In the Matter of the Establishment of Switched Access Revenue Requirements in Dockets TC04-119, TC05-096, and TC06-079
Ms. Darla Rogers, representing LECA provided a stipulation. Staff raised an issue that the stipulation did not include rate elements. Staff believes the rules require rate elements unless a waiver is granted. The filed tariff pages show a 12 ½ cent rate as stipulated in the agreement and does not include rate elements. Mr. Brett Koenecke, representing Midcontinent and MCI agreed with Ms. Rogers that the settlement has a 12 ½ cent rate without rate elements and agrees with Ms. Rogers that that rate should be put in effect without including rate elements. Mr. Harlan Best stated that the tariff was in final form and that there may be individual companies that were not involved in the settlement with LECA. Some of the companies may see an increase in what they pay to LECA and furthermore LECA may need to provide individual rate elements. Mr. Best also stated that the rules state three access charges should be in the tariff. Mr. Keith Senger asked if the Commission wanted to deal with CLECs requesting to use the average rate of the cost companies in the state excluding Qwest Corporation. Ms. Karen Cremer stated that if the Commission does accept the tariff pages the Commission will need to approve waivers regarding these rules.
Chairman Johnson moved to go into Executive Session and Vice Chairman Hanson seconded. Motion carried 2-0.
Chairman Johnson moved to reconvene the meeting and Vice Chairman Hanson seconded.
Chairman Johnson moved to accept the final tariff rates and to grant a waiver of ARSD 20:10:29:03. Vice Chairman Hanson seconded. Motion carried 2-0
2. TC06-175 In the Matter of the Petition of Sprint Communications Company L.P. for Arbitration pursuant to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to Resolve Issues Relating to an Interconnection Agreement with Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Kara Van Bockern)
TC06-176 In the Matter of the Petition of Sprint Communications Company L.P. for Arbitration Pursuant to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to Resolve Issues Relating to an Interconnection Agreement with Brookings Municipal Utilities d/b/a Swiftel Communications. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Kara Van Bockern)
Ms. Rolayne Wiest recommended establishing a procedural schedule regarding both TC06-175 and TC06-176 and further stated the parties have reached an agreement on the dates in the procedural schedule. Mr. Talbot Wieczorek stated that the parties have come to agreement except for a decision date by the Commission. Mr. Wieczorek further stated that the parties do not agree on when to file exhibits if there is redirect testimony. Ms. Wiest recommended a May 11, 2007, or a May 14, 2007, for a decision date.
Chairman Johnson moved that May 11, 2007, be set for a final decision date and the proposed dates for the rest of the procedural schedule with the two changes noted by Sprint Communications be accepted along with the process proposed by Sprint.
Chairman Johnson further moved that a paper copy need not be filed with the Commission. Vice Chairman Hanson seconded. Motion passed 2-0.
3. TC06-181 In the Matter of the Petition of Venture Communications Cooperative for Suspension or Modification of Local Dialing Parity Reciprocal Compensation Obligations (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Kara Van Bockern)
Ms. Darla Rogers stated that Venture has completed the study referenced in its Petition and will file it in the next couple of days. Venture is requesting that the Commission grant the interim suspension as soon as possible. Mr. Talbot Wieczorek, representing Alltel and RCC, stated that they have not received the exhibits that were marked confidential. They provided Venture with a signed confidential agreement on behalf of Alltel and RCC but have not received the confidential exhibits and will need to review the cost study when it is filed. Mr. Wieczorek further stated that the Commission should wait until the exhibits have been received and then give them time to reply to the filing. Ms. Kara Van Bockern requested the Commission set a procedural schedule. Ms. Rogers further stated that the Commission does not need a briefing schedule to set a temporary interim suspension. Ms. Rolayne Wiest recommended before granting interim suspension we need to hear from all parties and that Staff could work with the parties and work out a procedural schedule.
Chairman Johnson suggested that staff work with the parties and get a procedural schedule set.
4. TC06-182 In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of an Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation and DIECA Communications, Inc. d/b/a Covad Communications Company. (Staff Attorney: Kara Van Bockern)
Ms. Kara Van Bockern stated that the company has an active Certificate of Authority. The Amendment to the Agreement has been properly filed, has been properly executed and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions. No comments were filed and Ms. Van Bockern recommended approval of the Amendment to the Agreement.
Vice Chairman Hanson moved to approve the Amendment to the Agreement in TC06-182. Chairman Johnson seconded. Motion passed 2-0.
5. TC06-189 In the Matter of the Application of MCC Telephony of the Midwest, Inc. d/b/a Mediacom for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange and Local Exchange Services in the Castlewood, Elkton, Estelline, Hayti, Lake Norden and White Exchanges (Staff Analyst: Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Kara Van Bockern)
Ms. Meredith Moore, representing Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (ITC), stated that it is requesting intervention in this docket since MCC Telephony of the Midwest, Inc. d/b/a Mediacom ("MCC") is seeking a certificate of authority in ITC's territory. Mr. Brett Koenecke, MCC, stated it had no objection to the intervention. Ms. Kara Van Bockern had no objection to intervention.
Chairman Johnson moved to grant intervention to ITC in Docket TC06-189. Vice Chairman Hanson seconded. Motion passed 2-0.
6. TC06-190 In the Matter of Unauthorized Long Distance Charges made by eChurch Network and iLab Technologies and for their Failure to Obtain Certificates of Authority in South Dakota (Staff Attorney: Kara Van Bockern)
Ms. Kara Van Bockern stated that staff is relying on its Motion. Ms. Van Bockern further stated that staff has talked to Mr. Persson who is a registered agent of eChurch Network and iLab Technologies. Ms. Van Bockern further stated that staff had contacted Mr. Persson to inform him that the Motion was going to be on the Agenda regarding eChurch Network and iLab Technologies. Staff estimates that 60 to 70 people did not request service and were charged by this Company and that this Company does not have a Certificate of Authority in South Dakota. Ms. Kara Van Bockern further stated that eChurch Network and iLab Technologies are fictitious names used by Radical Persson Inc., a California Corporation, and that Radical Persson Inc. should be added to the docket and Order to Show Cause as it is the legal name of the company with eChurch Network and iLab Technologies listed as d/b/a names.
Vice Chairman Hanson moved that the Commission issue an Order to Show Cause to Radical Persson, Inc d/b/a eChurch Network and iLab Technologies in TC06-190. Chairman Johnson seconded. Motion passed 2-0.
Dana Steele, EchoStar Satellite, stated that she received notice of the Order to Show Cause against Dish Network just recently. She would like to work towards a resolution regarding these complaints. Ms. Kara Van Bockern stated staff will do some research on who is responsible for these calls. Ms. Van Bockern requested a deferral of this docket so staff may do some more research.
Chairman Johnson moved to defer Docket TC06-191. Vice Chairman Hanson seconded. Motion passed 2-0.