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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 17, 2011, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota
MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING
Chairman Steve Kolbeck called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commissioner Gary Hanson, Commissioner Chris Nelson; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Kara Semmler and Karen Cremer; Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Dave Jacobson, Bobbi Bourk, and Brian Rounds; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg and Staff: Demaris Axthelm and Lennis Axdahl.
Also present were: Jim Wilcox, Xcel Energy, Darla Pollman Rogers, Riter, Rogers, Wattier and Northrup, representing Golden West Telecommunications and South Dakota Telecommunications Association.
Joining the meeting by telephone were: Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLC, representing Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless; Suzan Stewart, Brad Howard, and Kathryn Kunert, MidAmerican Energy Co.; James Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer, representing James Valley Wireless, Todd Lantor, James Valley Wireless; and Andrew M. Carlson, Briggs and Morgan, P.A., representing Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless.
1. Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on April 19, 2011. (Staff: Tina Douglas)
Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Commission Meeting held on April 19, 2011 Motion passed 3-0.
1. Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)
The Commission received a total of 145 contacts since the last report was prepared for the May 3, 2011 Commission meeting.
29 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 27 of the contacts involved electrical services, 6 contacts involved natural gas service, 50 contacts involved cell phone service, 16 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 17 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.
1,038 of the 1,130 complaints received in 2011 have been resolved.
Mr. James Wilcox, Xcel Energy, stated this annual report is very similar to previous years and asked the Commission for approval. Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, stated he had reviewed the filing and found the filing complete and in order and it does not deviate to any great extent from prior commission approved action. Staff recommended the commission approve Xcel's 2010 Economic Development Annual Report and 2011 Economic Development Activities. Discussion took place regarding Xcel Energy's efforts to address and meet the economic development needs of smaller communities. Mr. Wilcox stated their office has a community relations representative that is connected directly with the leaders of the 36 communities they serve in eastern South Dakota. Of the $100,000 Xcel Energy invests, 40% is spent on rural economic development.
Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the 2010 Economic Development Activities Report and the 2011 Economic Development Budget. Motion passed 3-0.
1. NG11-002 In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of its 2010 Economic Development Activities and 2011 Proposed Budget (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)
Ms. Kathryn Kunert, MidAmerican Energy, provided a background on the filing and asked for Commission approval. Mr. Dave Jacobson, staff analyst, commented that the actual expenditures for 2010 and the budgeted amounts for 2011 were similar and also similar to previous requested expenditures and budgets. He stated that typically there is some variation between actual and budget for items such as "Economic Assistance Programs", "Business Attraction Incentives", and "Staffing" listed at the bottom of the reports and that this flexibility allows MidAmerican to react on a timely basis to current opportunities and events. He recommended approval of the application. Discussion took place regarding Forward Sioux Falls and the surrounding communities and the emphasis of the investment toward Sioux Falls. Ms. Kunert summarized that the success of Sioux Falls benefits the surrounding communities. MidAmerican Energy supports and focuses on initiatives and activities of smaller communities to support them with additional resources and that need is the priority of funding verses size of the community.
Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the 2010 Economic Development Activities and 2011 Proposed Budget of MidAmerican. Motion passed 3-0.
1. 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: Kara Semmler)
A lengthy discussion took place regarding Cellco Partnerships and its Subsidiaries and Affiliates request to grant the Motions to Compel Discovery and the Motion to Strike Testimony which can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2011, May 17, 2011, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2011/default.aspx.
Commissioner Hanson moved to deny the Motion to Strike Testimony. Motion passed 3-0.
Commissioner Nelson moved to compel James Valley Wireless to answer Interrogatory No. 6. Motion passed 3-0.
Commissioner Nelson moved to compel James Valley Wireless to identify and produce the confidential portions of its ETC certification filings for 2009 and 2010 regarding Interrogatory No. 7 along with Request for Production of Documents No. 1. Motion passed 3-0.
Commissioner Hanson moved to compel James Valley Wireless to provide the information requested in Interrogatory No. 13. Motion passed 2-1.
Commissioner Nelson moved to compel James Valley Wireless to produce the subscriber line reports as requested in Production of Documents No. 4. Motion passed 2-1.
Commissioner Hanson moved to deny the Motion to Compel filed against Golden West and SDTA regarding Interrogatory No. 7, along with Request for Production of Documents No. 1. Motion passed 3-0.
Commissioner Nelson moved to compel Golden West and specified SDTA members to provide the information as requested in Interrogatory No. 12 with the information limited to affiliates engaged in ETC related activities and that organizational charts be provided only to the extent such charts exist. Motion passed 2-1.
Commissioner Nelson moved to compel each SDTA member company to provide the URL for each company regarding Interrogatory No. 8. Motion passed 3-0.
2. TC11-015 In the Matter of the Filing of Gold Line Telemanagement, Inc. d/b/a The Group of Gold Line for an Amended Certificate of Authority and Waiver of Surety Indemnity Bond (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
Mr. Dave Jacobson, staff analyst, explained this is an application requesting removal of the bonding requirement previously placed on the company by the Commission. Mr. Jacobson has reviewed the updated financials and recommended to the Commission that neither a bond nor restrictions were necessary. Staff recommended the Commission allow the company to waive the bond requirement and grant the request to amend its certificate of authority.
Commissioner Hanson moved to approve an amended Certificate of Authority by waiving the Surety Indemnity Bond requirement to the Group of Gold Line. Motion passed 3-0
There being no further business, at the hour of 11:54 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for May 31, 2011.
/S/ Lennis Axdahl
May 17, 2011