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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting         
February 22, 2011, at 2:30 P.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota


Chairman Kolbeck called the meeting to Order. Present were: Vice Chair Gary Hanson and Commissioner Chris Nelson; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Kara Semmler, Karen Cremer and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: Dave Jacobson, Bob Knadle, Ross Pedersen, Brittany Mehlhaff, Chris Daugaard and Bobbi Bourk; and Staff: Deb Gregg, Demaris Axthelm and Seanna Regynski.

Also present were: Brett Koenecke, May, Adam, Gerdes, and Thompson, representing Verizon Business Services; Dan Nelson, Midcontinent; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Jim Wilcox, Xcel Energy; Kevin Kouba, Otter Tail Power; Black Hills Power Corporation representatives, Jafar Karim, Kyle White and Chuck Loomis; Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier and Northrup, representing South Dakota Network LLC and South Dakota Telephone Association.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Brian Rounds, PUC Staff; Bruce Gerhardson, Otter Tail Power Company; Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent; Kathy Ford, Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz, & Smith, representing Midcontinent and Knology of the Plains, Inc., and Knology of the Black Hills, LLC; Todd Brink, Black Hills Power; Thomas Forte, WiMacTel, Inc.; Qwest Corporation representatives, Wayne Johnson, George Thomson and William Curtis; Verizon Business Services representatives, Kim Caswell, Christopher Oatway and Chris Kilpatrick, Black Hills Power Corporation.

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


1.   Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on January 18, 2011, and February 1, 2011. (Staff: Seanna Regynski)

Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the January 18, 2011, and February 1, 2011, Commission meetings. 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, Consumer Affairs, reported that the Commission received a total of 162 contacts since the last report was prepared for the February 1, 2011, Commission meeting.

60 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 38 of the contacts involved electrical services, 10 contacts involved natural gas service, 1 contact involved gas and electric service, 17 contacts involved cell phone service, 15 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 1 contact was related to Wind Energy, and 20 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC. 362 of the 384 complaints received in 2011 have been resolved. All 2,842 complaints received in 2010 have been resolved.


1.   EL10-015           In the Matter of the Petition of Otter Tail Power Company to Establish a Transmission Cost Recovery Tariff (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds, Dave Jacobson, Brittany Mehlhaff, Ross Pedersen, Staff Attorneys: Kara Semmler, Ryan Soye)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding the application of ARSD provisions and state statutes as they relate to Otter Tail's petition and whether the Commission should allow suspension of the petition and require Otter Tail Power to give written notice to customers. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2011, February 22, 2011, Recording located at:

Commissioner Kolbeck moved that ARSD provisions and state statutes apply to Otter Tail's petition. Motion passed 3-0.

Commissioner Nelson moved to suspend the operation of the proposed Otter Tail Power rate increase for a period of time, not exceeding 180 days, beginning on February 22, 2011. Motion passed 3-0.

Commissioner Nelson moved that the earlier passed motion be corrected to state that it is suspended for 180 days after the filing date of the request. Motion passed 3-0.

Commissioner Kolbeck moved that Otter Tail Power give written notice pursuant to SDCL 49-34A-12 in conjunction with their next billing and ARSD 20:10:13:19 and shall give written notice as explained in those two sections. Motion passed 3-0.

2.      EL11-003           In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Approval of Deferred Collection of its Electric Cost Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Bob Knadle, Jon Thurber and Brittany Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Chris Kilpatrick, Black Hills Power, Inc. provided a brief history on the filing and requested the Commission approve the deferred collection of its electric cost adjustment from January 1, 2010, to March 31, 2010, and move it to the next filing. Mr. Bob Knadle, Staff Analyst, stated that Staff recommends the Commission approve the requested deferral and that Staff has not made a determination on the amount of the costs that will be rolled into the fuel clause and that Staff will determine that cost when Black Hills Power, Inc. files its fuel clause effective for June 1, 2011.

Commissioner Kolbeck moved to approve the requested deferral on less than thirty days notice. Motion passed 3-0.


1.      TC10-096           In the Matter of the Complaint Filed by Midcontinent Communications, Knology of the Plains, Inc., and Knology of the Black Hills, LLC, Against MCI Communications Services, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Business Services for Unpaid Access Charges (Staff Analyst: Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kathy Ford, Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz, & Smith, representing Midcontinent and Knology of the Plains, Inc., and Knology of the Black Hills, LLC. provided a brief history on the filing and requested the Commission grant the motion filed on February 11, 2011, as requested. Mr. Brett Koenecke, representing Verizon Business Services, requested the Commission deny Midcontinent's motion based on the following: the agreement does not change the fundamentals of the litigation; the agreement has dispute settlement provisions; and approval would result in prejudice to Verizon. Mr. Koenecke asked that the Commission allow some discovery relief should the Commission approve the motion. Ms. Kara Semmler, Staff Attorney, stated that Staff would like to defer the third item as stated in the amended agenda to the next Commission meeting. Ms. Semmler stated that Staff recommends the complaint should be allowed to be amended, however only so long that the parties have adequate time for discovery. Ms. Rolyane Wiest, Commission Counsel, recommends the Commission grant Midcontinent's motion to amend and not change the procedural schedule.

Commissioner Kolbeck moved to grant Midcontinent's Motion to Amend Complaint as requested.  Motion passed 3-0.    

2.      TC11-001           In the Matter of the Application of WiMacTel, Inc. for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Long Distance Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Thomas Forte, WiMacTel, Inc. provided information on the recent request to withdraw the application and requested the Commission grant his request to withdraw. Mr. Chris Daugaard, Staff Analyst, stated that Staff does not object to the withdrawal.

Commissioner Hanson moved that WiMacTel, Inc. be allowed to withdraw their application for a Certificate of Authority. Motion passed 3-0.

3.      TC11-002           In the Matter of the Application of Qwest Corporation for Waiver of Switched Access Cost Study (Staff Analyst: Bobbi Bourk Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. George Thomson, Qwest Corporation, requested a waiver of the requirement to perform a switched access cost study. Qwest does not intend to raise its rates. Ms. Bobbi Bourk, Staff Analyst, stated that Staff recommends that the Commission grant the waiver under ARSD 20:10:27:02 and 20:10:27:07.

Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the waiver according to administrative rules. Motion passed 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 3:48 p.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for March 8, 2011.

/S/ Seanna Regynski       
Seanna Regynski
Administrative Secretary
February 22, 2011