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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 20, 2008, at 9:30 A.M.
Room 464, State Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota
MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING
Chairman Steve Kolbeck called the meeting to order. Present were: Commissioner Dusty Johnson; Executive Director Patty Van Gerpen; Deputy Executive Director Heather Forney; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Commission Attorney John Smith; Staff Attorneys Karen Cremer and Kara Semmler; Staff Analysts Harlan Best, Dave Jacobson, Bob Knadle, and Brian Rounds; Communications Manager Leah Mohr, and Administrative Secretary Anissa Grambihler.
Also present were: Dave Gerdes, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, representing Otter Tail Power and TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP; Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, representing TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP, Mediacom, and NorthWestern Energy; Bill Van Camp, Olinger, Lovald, McCahren & Reimers PC, representing AT&T Communications of the Midwest and Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association.
Joining the meeting by telephone were: Commissioner Gary Hanson; Julie Miron, Deb MacLean, and Walter Peak, of Communication Access Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (CACDHH); Kenneth Gates, CEO Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc.; Donald Petersen and Jodi Odegaard-Smith, Morgan Theeler LLP, representing Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc.; Meredith Moore, Cutler and Donahoe, representing Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (ITC).; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Goodsell & Nelson, representing Sprint Communications Company L.P.; Richard Helpser, Glover & Helsper, P.C., representing Brookings Municipal Utilities d/b/a Swiftel Communications; and Kim Pederson, Market Planning Manager, Otter Tail Power.
- Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on March 25, 2008, and the Ad Hoc Meeting Held on March 26, 2008. (Staff: Demaris Axthelm)
Chairman Kolbeck moved to approve the Commission Minutes of March 25, 2008, and Ad Hoc Meeting Held on March 26, 2008. Motion passed 3-0.
- Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
The Commission has received a total of 115 contacts since the last report was prepared for the May 6, 2008 Commission meeting. 25 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 22 of the contacts involved electrical services, 9 contacts involved natural gas services, 10 contacts involved cell phone services, 24 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 25 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC. 852 of the 905 complaints received in 2008 have been resolved. 2,300 of the 2,337 complaints received in 2007 have been resolved.
1. EL08-009 In the Matter of the Joint Request for an Electric Service Rights Exception between Otter Tail Power Company and Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. David Gerdes, representing Otter Tail Power Company, stated the company is requesting the withdrawal of the filing as the customer does currently have power with Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative Inc., and an arrangement was reached. Mr. Dave Jacobson stated that staff recommends granting approval of the withdrawal of the filing.
Chairman Kolbeck moved to approve the withdrawal of the filing. Motion Passed 3-0.
2. EL08-012 In the Matter of the Joint Request for an Electric Service Rights Exception between Otter Tail Power Company and Kingsbury Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. David Gerdes, representing Otter Tail Power Company stated that Otter Tail has been working with Kingsbury Electric Cooperative, Inc. and was able to come to a Service Rights Exception Agreement for a customer that is located on the South 654.93 feet of the Southwest Quarter, except the East 855 feet thereof, and except Lot H-2 located therein, of Section 28, Township 111, Range 56, until Otter Tail can extend its facilities. The temporary service is estimated to last until the completion of Otter Tail's facilities to the customer and other new customers in the area. Staff recommends approval of the service rights exception.
Commissioner Johnson moved to approve the temporary service rights exception. Motion Passed 3-0.
1. HP07-001 In the Matter of the Application by 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)
Mr. David Gerdes, representing TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP (Keystone), is requesting a deferral until the original construction bond can be filed and reviewed.
Chairman Kolbeck moved to defer on any action until the original bond is filed. Motion passed 3-0
Ms. Heather Forney stated that staff recommends approval of reinstatement as the company is in compliance with SDCL Chapter 49-1A. DelTel has paid its Gross Receipts Tax.
Commissioner Johnson moved to reinstate the Certificate of Authority of Deltel, Inc. d/b/a AuctionFon. Motion Passed 3-0.
2. TC08-039 In the Matter of the Application of Kentucky Data Link, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Mr. Harlan Best of staff recommended approval of the Certificate of Authority (COA) for local and interexchange to Kentucky Data Link, Inc. without restrictions on pre-paid services. The company has filed in accordance with administrative rules. Mr. Best further recommended company's request for confidential treatment of the financial statement be granted but subject to rural safe guards.
Commissioner Johnson moved to approve to grant Certificate of Authority to Kentucky Data Link Inc., subject to rural safe guards and confidential treatment of the financial statement. Motion passed 3-0.
3. TC08-042 In the Matter of the Filing by MCImetro Access Transmission Services, LLC d/b/a Verizon Access Transmission Services for Approval of its Access Services Tariff. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Bill Van Camp representing AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc., is requesting approval for intervention. AT&T would be affected by the tariff and wishes to review the information as it is filed with the commission. Mr. Dave Gerdes, representing Verizon, has no objections to the intervention. Mr. Dave Jacobson of staff recommends granting the intervention.
Commissioner Hanson moved to grant invention to AT&T Communications of the Midwest Inc. Motion Passed 3-0.
4. TC08-043 In the Matter of the Application of Communication Access Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Brian Rounds of staff recommended granting CACDHH Certificate of Authority (COA) to provide interexchange services. Additionally, CACDHH has agreed to have the COA contain the standard restrictions from providing any prepaid services and from accepting or collecting any deposits or advanced payments. Mr. Rounds stated that CACDHH has agreed to a restriction from providing any end-user services that require end-user billing. If CACDHH should ever wish to provide any end-user billed service, prepaid service, or collect any advanced customer payment or deposits, they would need to seek additional Commission authority. Ms. Myron from CACDHH stated that the FCC has been monitoring the numbers of individuals or companies calling pretending to be deaf and placing orders, the operator's position is to remain silent and is unable to stop the call. The company blocks these types of calls to prevent fraud, therefore reducing the number fraud calls and is providing this information to the FCC.
Commissioner Johnson moved to grant the Certificate of Authority to Communication Access Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc., to provide interexchange services to include restrictions from pre-pay rated services, providing already pre-paid calling cards, and any end-user services that require end-user billing. Communication Access for the Deaf and Hard Inc., must seek additional Commission authority should it wish to provide any end-user billed service or prepaid service or collect any advance customer payments or deposits. Motion Passed 3-0.
1. In the Matter of a Consulting Contract for Production of Outreach Materials (Communications Manager: Leah Mohr)
Ms. Leah Mohr stated that staff believes the Do Not Call, Lifeline and Link Up are three telecommunications programs that more South Dakota consumers can benefit from. Staff would like to conduct an awareness effort, beginning this summer, to promote and assist consumers with enrolling in and applying for the programs. Staff has been working with the South Dakota Telecommunications Association to develop and implement the Lifeline and Link Up awareness programs. To effectively promote the Do Not Call, Lifeline and Link up programs, staff proposed a variety of tools be created, which will include print materials, television commercials and display graphics. Many of these tools will be used at fairs and home shows the PUC attends. Staff requests approval to work with an advertising agency to create the promotional materials for this outreach effort. Ms. Forney added that the funding to pay for the Do Not Call portion of the contract will be paid through the Do Not Call fund, which consists of fees paid by telephone solicitors. The Lifeline/Link-up portion of the contract will be paid through the Qwest QPAP money.
Commissioner Johnson moved to Authorize Staff to Enter into a Consulting Contract with an Advertising Agency to Produce Outreach Materials for the Do Not Call, Lifeline and Link Up Programs. Motion Passed 3-0.
ADDENDUM TO THE
AGENDA OF COMMISSION MEETING
1. EL08-011 In the Matter of the Petition for Electrical Service by South Dakota Oilseed Processors, L.L.C. to have NorthWestern Energy Assigned as its Electric Provider in the Service Area of Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Don Petersen representing Dakota Energy Cooperative Inc., (Dakota Energy) is requesting intervention. At this time they are not formally objecting to the petition filed by Dakota Oilseed Processors, L.L.C. (Oilseed Processors), but do have concerns if the project is not completed and if it is completed that the project meets the 2 MW load requirements. Mr. Brett Koenecke, representing NorthWestern Energy had no objection to intervention by Dakota Energy. Staff recommends the Commission grant the intervention of Dakota Energy Cooperative Inc.
Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant in to Grant Intervention to Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. Motion passed 3-0.
Chairman Johnson asked if there were any objections to the Commission taking up Dockets TC06-178, TC06-180, TC06-188 and TC06-189 together including the second addendum. Hearing no objections the above Dockets were taking together.
1. TC06-178 In the Matter of the Application of Sprint Communications Company L.P. for Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in Certain Rural Areas Served by Brookings Municipal Utilities d/b/a Swiftel Communications. (Staff Analyst: Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
TC06-188 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 Brookings Exchange (Staff Analyst: Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
TC06-180 In the Matter of the Application of Sprint Communications Company L.P. for Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in Certain Rural Areas Served by Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
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 Local Exchange Services in the Castlewood, Elkton, Estelline, Hayti, Lake Norden and White Exchanges. (Staff Analyst: Harlan Best, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Mr. Talbot Wieczorek, representing Sprint Communications Company, L.P.("Sprint"), requested the protective order be granted to benefit all the parties. Mr. Rich Helpser, representing Brookings Municipal Utilities d/b/a Swiftel Communications ("Swiftel") stated they have no objections to the Protective Order in TC06-178 and TC06-188. Meredith Moore, representing Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (ITC), concurred with Mr. Wieczorek's comments that it will be helpful in the discovery in this matter and requests the Commission adopt the protective order. Mr. Brett Koenecke, representing MCC Telephony of the Midwest, Inc. d/b/a Mediacom ("MCC"), agreed with the comments made by the parties. Ms. Kara Semmler stated that Staff has no objections and recommends granting the Protective Order.
Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant the Protective Order in the following Dockets TC06-178, TC06-180, TC06-188 and TC06-189. Motion passed 3-0.
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)
Kim Pederson from Otter Tail Power Company proposed a modified Energy Efficiency Partnership Plan but a change is needed to the rider to include an annual filing with the Commission. The administrative labor will be more with the public entities as they do not have the resources to implement the programs and understand how the process will work. Mr. Brian Rounds stated the modified grants program is now a $40,000 program, with a max. of $10,000 per award. Applicants will have 3 months to apply each year, and Otter Tail will give out awards based on a cost-benefit factor ranking, assuming applications make the minimum factor. Also, any public entities that apply and reach the minimum factor will be given preference over private entities. Although, Staff still has its reservations about the plan, they are pleased with Otter Tail's filing as a pilot project. Otter Tail proposes to recover costs through a new energy efficiency partnership cost recovery rider. The rider will be a separate line item on each customer's bill as an additional charge of .063 cents per kilowatt hour. This rate is applied equally across all customer classes. The rate includes a carrying charge as well as a potential incentive for Otter Tail. Upon approval, Otter Tail will begin implementing its programs on October 1st of this year, and end the accounting period on December 31st of 2009. The following accounting periods will follow the calendar year. To ensure that this is not an automatic adjustment, Staff proposes that Otter Tail file on March 1st, 2010, and annually thereafter to approve the previous year's expenses, the following year's budget, and true up any previous miscalculations. Staff recommended approval with the conditions to be added to the tariff. First, that Ottertail files annually for approval beginning on March 1, 2010 and on each successive year. Second, that Otter Tail works with Staff to conduct a survey to help determine the program's effectiveness. Commissioner Johnson suggested the company file with the Commission showing the roll out plan, and how the company plans to communicate with its customers. Also Commissioner Johnson stated he would like to attend a training program held by Otter Tail.
Commissioner Hanson moved to Approve Otter Tail's proposed Energy Efficiency Program tariff plan, and subject to staff's recommended condition and subject to the condition the monthly credit be increased from $5.00 to $7.00. Motion passed 3-0.
There being no further business, at the hour of 10:50 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting adjourned.