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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
October 12, 2010, at 1:00 P.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota


Vice Chairman Kolbeck called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commissioner Gary Hanson; Commission Attorneys John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys Karen Cremer, Kara Semmler, and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts Bob Knadle, Brian Rounds, Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, and Ross Pederson; Consumer Affairs Supervisor Deb Gregg; and Administrative Secretary Demaris Axthelm.

Also present were:  Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, & Northrup, representing Midstate Telecom, Inc., Golden West Telecommunication Cooperative, Inc. and South Dakota Telecommunications Association.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:  Commissioner Dusty Johnson; Nathan Solem, Pipeline Safety Manager; Bill Fulton, South Dakota Natural Gas; Patrick Crocker, Crocker & Crocker, PC, representing Easton Telecom Services, LLC; Robert Mocas, Easton Telecom Services, LLC; Mark Benton, Midstate Telecom, Inc.; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer Nelson & Ashmore, representing Cellco Partnership; and Elizabeth Kohler, Linda Stevens and Steve Otto, Verizon Wireless.

(NOTE: For the purpose of continuity, these minutes are not necessarily in chronological order.)


  1. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting held on September 28, 2010. (Staff: Stephanie Harmon)

         Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the Minutes of the Commission Meeting held on September 28, 2010. Motion passed 3-0.

Consumer Reports

  1. 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 87 contacts since the last report was prepared for the September 28, 2010, Commission meeting. 18 contacts involved telecommunications services; 24 of the contacts involved electrical services; 6 contacts involved natural gas services; 11 contacts involved cell phone services; 16 contacts were related to the Do Not Call registry; and 12 contacts involved issues not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. In 2010, 2,190 of the 2,249 complaints registered have been resolved.

Pipeline Safety

1.      PS10-003 - In the Matter of the Complaint by Pipeline Safety Staff Against South Dakota Natural Gas Company for Violations of 49 CFR 192 (Staff Analyst: Nathan Solem, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

         Mr. Nathan Solem, Pipeline Safety Program Manager, stated that South Dakota Natural Gas has brought the line into compliance and asked the Commission to dismiss and close the docket. Mr. Bill Fulton, South Dakota Natural Gas, thanked Staff for working with the Company to ensure compliance.

         Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to dismiss the complaint and close the docket. Motion passed 3-0.


1.      TC10-085 - In the Matter of the Application of Easton Telecom Services, L.L.C. for a Certificate of Authority for Telecommunication Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

         Mr. Patrick Crocker, representing Easton Telecom Services, LLC (Easton), requested Commission approval to provide a certificate of authority to Easton. Mr. Jon Thurber, Staff Analyst, stated that Easton has agreed to the conditions that Easton will not offer any prepaid services, including prepaid calling cards, and will not accept or require any deposits or advance payments without prior approval of the Commission. Mr. Thurber stated Staff recommended approval with those conditions.

         Commissioner Hanson moved that Easton Telecom Services, L.L.C. be granted a certificate of authority to provide resold interexchange telecommunications services, subject to the conditions that Easton 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. Motion passed 3-0.

2.      TC10-086 - In the Matter of the Application of Midstate Telecom, Inc., For a Waiver of ARSD 20:10:32:06.01 (Staff Analyst: Bob Knadle, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

         A lengthy discussion took place on waiving ARSD 20:10:32:06:01 and how it would affect pre-paid service requirements. The Commission asked Staff and Midstate to bring this docket before the Commission at the next meeting. No action was taken.

3.      TC10-090 - In the Matter of the Petition of Cellco Partnerships and its Subsidiaries and Affiliates to Amend and Consolidate Eligible Telecommunications Carrier Designations in the State of South Dakota and to Partially Relinquish ETC Designation (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

         Ms. Margo Northrup, representing South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA) and Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (Golden West), requested Commission to approve the intervention petitions. Mr. Talbot Wieczorek, representing Cellco Partnership, stated Cellco Partnership did not object to the intervention by SDTA and Golden West. The Commission asked all parties to work with Staff to develop a procedural schedule in this matter.

         Vice Chairman Kolbeck moved to grant intervention to SDTA and Golden West. Motion passed 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 1:42 p.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for October 26, 2010.

/S/Stephanie Harmon       
Stephanie Harmon
Administrative Secretary
November 9, 2010