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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at 9:30 AM
State Capitol Building, Room 412
Pierre, South Dakota
MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING
Chairman Gary Hanson called the meeting to order. Present were: Vice Chairman Steve Kolbeck; Commissioner Dustin Johnson; Executive Director Patty Van Gerpen; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Commission Attorneys John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Staff Attorneys Karen Cremer and Kara Semmler; Staff Analysts Harlan Best, Dave Jacobson, Keith Senger, Bob Knadle, Nathan Solem, Brian Rounds and Daris Ormesher; Consumer Affairs Supervisor Deb Gregg; and Administrative Secretary Demaris Axthelm.
Also present were: Cris Miller, Curt Pearson, Casey Jacobson, and Wade Nyberg, representing Basin Electric Power Cooperative; Bob Miller, SD Electric Utility Companies; Kent Moeckley; Lillian Anderson; Curt Hohn, WEB Water Development Association; Jim Wilson, MidAmerican Energy Company; Margo Northrup , Riter, Rogers, Wattier & Brown, representing Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. and James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company; Jim Wilcox, Xcel Energy; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, representing TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP and Xcel Energy; Dave Gerdes, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, representing Midcontinent Communications; Dennis Stuart and Jeff Rausch, TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP and Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association.
Joining the meeting by telephone were: Meredith Moore, Cutler and Donahoe, representing Reduced Rate Long Distance; Mark Anderson, Xcel Energy; Don Marker, Sioux Valley Energy; Bob Schuetzel, Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc; and Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications.
- 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 116 contacts since the last report was prepared for the February 26, 2008 Commission meeting. 18 contacts involved telecommunications services; 27 contacts involved electricity issues; 10 contacts involved natural gas issues; 2 contacts involved electrical and natural gas services; 15 contacts involved cell phone services, 27 contacts involved the Do Not Call Registry; and 17 contacts involved issues not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. In 2008, 426 of the 498 complaints registered have been resolved informally. In 2007, 2,281 of the 2,337 complaints registered have been resolved informally.
1. CT08-001 - In the Matter of the Complaint filed by Chris Weber/Pico's Garage Inc., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, against Reduced Rate Long Distance, LLC, Regarding Unauthorized Long Distance Charges. (Staff Analyst: Deb Gregg, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Ms. Kara Semmler stated that staff supports the intervention for Midcontinent Communications (Midcontinent). Ms. Mary Lohnes had no additional comments. Ms. Meredith Moore stated that Reduced Rate Long Distance (Reduced Rate) had no objection to granting intervention to Midcontinent.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant intervention to Midcontinent Communications in Docket CT08-001. Motion passed 3-0.
1. EL05-023 - In the Matter of the Application of Xcel Energy for a Construction Permit to Build 9.6 Miles of the Split Rock to Lakefield Junction 345 kV Transmission Line and Add Facilities to the Split Rock Substation. (Staff Analyst: Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Jim Wilcox stated that Xcel Energy takes full responsibility for the deviations from the stipulation agreement. Mr. Wilcox gave a presentation. See handouts on line:
/commission/dockets/electric/2005/el05-023/031108.pdf Mr. Wilcox further stated that Xcel takes agreements made with the Commission seriously and is taking steps to make sure this type of communication gap does not happen again. Mr. Wilcox stated that Xcel is asking the Commission to approve the relocation of structure 35. Ms. Sandy Johnson stated that on January 8, 2008, the Johnsons discovered structure 34 was located 21 feet 6 inches north towards the white line in the easement area which was not where she had been told the structure would be placed. On the same day, Ms. Johnson discovered that structure 35 had been moved and cement had been poured for both structures prior to January 8, 2008. Ms. Johnson further stated that they were told that structure 34 would be located at the fence line and had requested maps from Xcel for an explanation on structure 34 placement. Ms. Johnson told the Commission that Xcel has not answered her questions when asked and Ms. Johnson stated that they are asking the Commission to order that Xcel treat them fairly, to communicate with them and to show them what section of land structure 35 is located in. Ms. Karen Cremer stated that Staff is troubled by the fact that Xcel failed to provide information to landowners and the Commission in spite of the Commission order which requires them to do so before they change the route as previously approved. Xcel also failed to provide a complete mailing to all landowners as required by the order. Ms. Cremer also stated that Staff only became aware of what was going on when contacted by the landowner. Ms. Cremer recommended the Commission approve Xcel's request to relocate structure 35 as the landowner had no issue with the location of structure 35, she further recommended that the parties work together to quickly resolve the outstanding issues.
Chairman Hanson moved to grant the request to move structure 35 and that Xcel shall not energize the 345 kilovolt Split Rock - Lakefield Junction transmission line until such time as the Commission approves energizing the line. Motion passed 3-0.
2. EL07-010 - In the Matter of the Filing by Sioux Valley-Southwestern Electric Cooperative d/b/a Sioux Valley Energy for Approval of Revised Service Territories as a Result of Annexation by Brookings Municipal Utilities. (Staff Analyst: Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Ms. Kara Semmler stated that this matter should not have been docketed and dismissal would be an administrative dismissal.
Commissioner Johnson moved to dismiss and close Docket EL07-010. Motion passed 3-0.
3. EL07-011 - In the Matter of the Filing by Otter Tail Power Company for Approval of its Proposed Energy Efficiency Partnership Plan for 2008. (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds/Dave Jacobson/Steve Wegman/Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Chairman Hanson stated that Docket EL07-011 would be deferred.
4. EL08-004 - In the Matter of the Filing by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. Regarding its Notification of Intent to Apply for a Permit for an Energy Conversion Facility. (Staff Analysts: Nathan Solem/Brian Rounds/Daris Ormesher/Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Ms. Casey Jacobson of Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) stated that on February 20, 2008, Basin Electric filed a Notice of Intent for a Proposed Energy Conversion Facility located near Selby, South Dakota. Ms. Jacobson stated that Basin Electric has reviewed Staff's proposed 25 mile radius affected area and offered to the Commission evidence of an alternative affected area for consideration that was presented by Mr. Curt Pearson from Basin Electric. Mr. Pearson explained to the Commission the housing program for Basin Electric's work force and also presented a drive time map that showed that the 25 mile radius would be a 60 minute drive time. Mr. Pearson further stated that Basin Electric consultants have advised Basin Electric that a temporary work base camp will be needed to provide housing to 1,000 and up to 1,400 construction workers. Mr. Bob Knadle of Staff recommended that the Commission consider the 25 mile radius from the site and include the school district of Gettysburg. Ms. Karen Cremer stated that according to SDCL 49-41B-6 the PUC shall designate the affected area and a local review committee composed of: (1) The chair of the tribal council of each affected reservation; (2) The president of the board of education of each affected school district; (3) The chair of the county commissioners of each affected county; (4) The mayor of each affected municipality; and (5) A representative of the applicant utility designated by the utilities.
Chairman Hanson moved to approve the 25 miles radius from the site of the proposed energy conversion facility as the designated affected area. Motion passed 3-0.
Chairman Hanson moved to approve a local review committee according to statue SDCL 49-41B-6 and to include the Gettysburg School District 53-1. Motion passed 3-0.
1. HP07-001 - In the Matter of the Application of TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP for a Permit under the South Dakota Energy Conversion and Transmission Facility Act to Construct the Keystone Pipeline Project. (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle/Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)Chairman Hanson stated that this has been a contested case and all hearings and processes have been completed and it's time for the Commission to take action. Chairman Hanson further stated that the Commission would discuss the issues among themselves and possibly seek the opinions of the Commission advisor counsel, but would not be taking comments or argument from parties or the public. Chairman Hanson explained that the process will be as follows: A motion would be made, the motion is then held in abeyance until the Commission discusses and adopts the conditions of the permit. After the conditions, Commissioners or Commissioner who believe the conditions are sufficient and who believe the applicant has met the statutory requirements will vote in favor of the motion, and those Commissioners or Commissioner who believe the conditions are insufficient or that the applicant has not met the statutory requirements will vote against the motion. Chairman Hanson noted that there are 57 conditions and that he would be reading, each condition and then would ask the Commissioners if they have any comments suggestions to that particular condition. Chairman Hanson noted that in this manner everyone would have the opportunity to hear those conditions as we go through the process. Once all of the conditions have been discussed, Commissioners would then vote on the conditions, and if there are any contentious conditions, Commissioners would then vote on them separately. See transcript on line:
Chairman Hanson moved to grant the application by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP for the construction of the Keystone Pipeline Project, subject to the conditions approved by the Commission today and that action on the motion is held in abeyance pending action to finalize the conditions.
Commissioner Johnson moved to amend the main motion by adding conditions 1 through 57 inclusive. Motion passed 3-0.
The main motion was then brought on for action. Motion passed 3-0.
1. TC07-123 - In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of a Boundary Change between Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. and Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Ms. Margo Northrup asked that the Commission amend the certificate of authority to reflect the agreed upon boundary changes between Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. ("Valley") and Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative ("Dickey Rural"). Ms. Northrup further stated that the boundary changes will provide a more easily defined boundary and that no customers will be affected by the proposed boundary changes. Mr. Dave Jacobson agreed with Ms. Northrup and recommended approval of the boundary change.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to approve the boundary change and requested waivers. Motion passed 3-0
2. TC07-126 - In the Matter of the Filing for Approval of a Boundary Change between Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. and James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Ms. Margo Northrup asked that the Commission amend the certificate of authority to reflect the agreed upon boundary changes between Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. ("Valley") and James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company ("James Valley"). Ms. Northrup further stated that the boundary changes will provide a more easily defined boundary and that no customers will be affected by the proposed boundary changes. Mr. Dave Jacobson agreed with Ms. Northrup and recommended approval of the boundary change.
Commissioner Johnson moved to approve the boundary change and the requested waivers. Motion passed 3-0.
There being no further business, at the hour of 12:55 pm the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting adjourned.
__/S/ Demaris Axthelm___________