South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
February 23, 2010, at 2:30 P.M.
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota
MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING
Chairman Dusty Johnson called the meeting to order. Present were: Vice Chairman Steve Kolbeck:; Executive Director Patty Van Gerpen; Commission Counsel Rolayne Ailts Wiest and John Smith; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys Karen Cremer and Kara Semmler; Staff Analysts Jon Thurber, Terri LaBrie Baker, Dave Jacobsen, Bob Knadle, Tim Binder, and Brian Rounds; Consumer Affairs Supervisor Deb Gregg; and Administrative Secretary Demaris Axthelm.
Also present were: Dave Gerdes, May, Adam, Gerdes and Thompson, representing Midcontinent Communications; Meredith Moore, Cutler and Donahoe, representing, OrbitCom, Inc.; Bob Riter and Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier and Northrup, representing South Dakota Network LLC; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Goodsell and Nelson, representing Sprint Communications LLC; Pat Mantel and Brian VanLeuiz representing Orbitcom, Inc.; Chris Kilpatrick, Andy Burcher, and Kyle White representing Black Hill Power, Inc.; Kim Pederson and Kevin Kouba representing Otter Tail Power Company; and Bill Van Camp, May, Adam, Gerdes, and Thompson, representing AT&T.
Joining the meeting by telephone were: Commissioner Gary Hanson; Brenda Sandhal and Rebecca White, representing Otter Tail Power Company; Todd Brink representing Black Hills Power Company; Bill Heaston representing South Dakota Network LLC; Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch & Cremer LLC, representing Northern Valley Communications; Jeff Larson, Larson & Nipe, representing Sancom, Inc.; Chris Madsen, Boyce, Greenfield, Pashby & Welk, LLP, representing Qwest Corporation and Qwest Communications Company, LLC; and David Ziegler and George Thompson, Qwest Corporation and Qwest Communications Company, LLC.
- Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
Ms. Deb Gregg reported that the Commission received a total of 284 contacts since the last report was prepared for the February 9, 2010, commission meeting. 13 contacts involved telecommunications services; 15 contacts involved electrical services; 3 contacts involved natural gas services; 5 contacts involved cell phone services; 210 contacts involved the Keystone XL Pipeline, 12 contacts involved the Do Not Call Registry; 2 contacts were related to Wind Energy; and 24 contacts involved issues not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. In 2010, 494 of the 526 complaints registered have been resolved. In 2009, 2,534 of the 2,537 complaints registered have been resolved.
Ms. Kim Pederson, Otter Tail Power Company (OTP), provided a background of the filing submitted to the Commission. Mr. Brian Rounds, Staff Analyst, stated Staff recommended approval of the OTP filing. Mr. Rounds also suggested the Commission look at holding workshops for the utility companies on energy efficiency incentive mechanisms.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to approve the 2010 Energy Efficiency Plan, approve modifications to the grant program, allow budget flexibility up to 30% without Commission approval, and allow modifications the financial incentive. Motion Passed 3-0.
Commissioner Hanson moved to amend the motion to include that all customers receive the incentive. Motion passed 2-1 (Kolbeck dissenting).
2. EL10-001 In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Approval of its Electric Cost Adjustment. (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle, Dave Jacobson, Terri LaBrie Baker, Jon Thurber, Tim Binder, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Chris Kilpatrick, Black Hills Power, Inc. (BHP) provided a background on BHP's filed application for approval of its electric cost adjustment (ECA) with the Commission. Mr. Kilpatrick stated the 2009 ECA increased $2.1 million from 2008 or approximately $1.00 per residential customer. Mr. Kilpatrick stated the drivers of the increase were related to the transmission side of the utilities. Mr. Bob Knadle, Staff Analyst, stated that Staff asked BHP to make some minor adjustments to the original filing, which BHP did and then filed an amended tariff. Staff recommended approval as amended.
Chairman Johnson moved to approve the Electric Cost Adjustment, as amended, effective on and after March 1, 2010. Motion passed 3-0.
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: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Talbot Wieczorek, representing Sprint Communications L.P.(Sprint), stated the Motion was filed based on SDCL 49-13-14.1. Mr. Wieczorek stated the Commission had heard this same motion on a different case. At that time the Commission determined that they were not a court and therefore granted the motion to dismiss. Ms. Margo Northrup, representing South Dakota Network, LLC, (SDN) stated Count III was brought before the Commission as a precaution, in case the case was brought to circuit court after this proceeding. Ms. Northrup stated she was aware of the prior ruling of the Commission and was not asking for double damages in this forum. Ms. Northrup stated she believed the Commission had jurisdiction based on SDCL 49-31-7 & 7.1, with regard to unwarranted business practices, which is the reason the complaint was filed and asked the Commission to deny the motion and allow SDN to keep Count III available on the next level. Ms. Karen Cremer, Staff Attorney, stated she did not find any case law that would preclude SDN from continuing with Count III of the complaint on the next level should the Commission grant Sprint's motion. Ms. Cremer stated Staff believes Sprint is correct in filing the motion to dismiss Count III from these proceedings. A discussion took place on whether or not dismissing Count III at this level would prevent SDN from asking for double damages at the Circuit Court level.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to Dismiss Count III without prejudice. Motion passed 3-0.
2. TC10-003 In the Matter of the Application of Broadview Networks Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Dave Jacobson, Staff Analyst, stated Broadview filed an application for a certificate of authority (COA) for local and long distance service. Staff recommended approval of the COA with waivers of ARSD 20:10:24:02(09) and 20:10:32:03(12) subject to rural safe guard and prepaid restrctions.
Chairman Johnson moved that Broadview be granted a certificate of authority to provide interexchange telecommunications services and local exchange services, subject to the condition that Broadview not offer any prepaid services (including prepaid calling cards) and not accept or require any deposits or advance payments without prior approval of the Commission, and subject to rural safeguards and moved to approve requested waivers. Motion passed 3-0.
3. TC10-004 In the Matter of the Application of Enventis Telecom, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. (Staff Analyst: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Ms. Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Analyst, stated Enventis Telecom, Inc. (Enventis) submitted an application for a certificate of authority to provide local exchange telecommunications services in Qwest areas only in South Dakota. Enventis has also asked for a waiver of ARSD 20:10:36:03(12). Staff recommended that Enventis be granted a certificate of authority with the prepaid conditions and subject to rural safeguards, and the requested waiver be granted.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant a certificate of authority to Enventis Telecom, Inc. to provide local exchange services in South Dakota, except in those areas served by a rural telephone company, subject to the condition that Enventis not offer any prepaid services (including prepaid calling cards) and not accept or require any deposits or advance payments without prior approval of the Commission, and subject to rural safeguards and grant waiver of ARSD 20:10:32:03(12). Motion passed 3-0
4. TC10-014 In the Matter of the Investigation of Pricing Regulation for Switched Access Services Provided by Competitive Local Exchange Carriers. (Staff Analyst: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Ms. Karen Cremer, Staff Attorney, stated Commission Staff recommended granting Intervention to Verizon, Midcontinent Communications, Northern Valley Communications, AT & T, SSTELECOM Inc, Sancom, Inc, SDTA, Sprint, R C Communications, Inc, Midstate Telecom, Inc and Qwest. Ms. Cremer further stated that all 11 parties have filed their petitions in a timely manner.
Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved that the petitions for invention be granted to Verizon, Midcontinent Communications, Northern Valley Communications, AT & T, SSTELECOM Inc, Sancom, Inc, SDTA, Sprint, R C Communications, Inc, Midstate Telecom, Inc and Qwest. Motion passed 3-0.
5. TC08-135 In the Matter of the Complaint filed by OrbitCom, Inc. against Verizon Business Network Services, Inc. Regarding Unpaid Access Charges. (Staff Analyst: Terri LaBrie Baker, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Following the hearing and the filing of briefs, the Commission held oral argument. A transcript of this docket is available on the PUC website at http://www.puc.sd.gov/commission/dockets/telecom/2008/tc08-135/022310transcript.pdf.
Vice Chairman Johnson moved the Commission take the issue under advisement and take no action at this time. Motion passed 3 - 0.
There being no further business, at the hour of 6:10 pm, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting adjourned. The next regularly Commission meeting is scheduled for March 9, 2010.
March 23, 2010