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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 31, 2011, at 1:30 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, Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Kara Semmler, Karen Cremer, and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: Dave Jacobson, Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber, Bobbi Bourk, and Brian Rounds; and Staff: Demaris Axthelm and Lennis Axdahl.

Also present were: Chris Kilpatrick, Kyle White, Glynda Rahn, and Lee Magnuson representing Black Hills Power, Inc.; Steve Willard, representing South Dakota Electric Utility Companies.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:  Commissioner Chris Nelson, Robert Towers, Chesapeake Regulatory Consultants, Inc., representing Pubic Utilities Commission; Chuck Loomis, representing Black Hills Power, Inc.; Pam Bonrud, Sara Dannen, Melissa Baruth, and Rick Hoffman representing NorthWestern Energy; Chris Daugaard, representing Public Utilities Commission; Larry Janes, representing South Dakota One Call.

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on May 3, 2011. (Staff: Lennis Axdahl) 

     Commissioner Kolbeck moved to approve the minutes of the Commission Meeting held on May 3, 2011 Motion passed 3-0.

Consumer Reports

1.     Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries and Complaints Received by the Commission. (Consumer Affairs: Kara Semmler for Deb Gregg)

The Commission received a total of 107 contacts since the last report was prepared for the May 17, 2011 Commission meeting.

14 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 19 of the contacts involved electrical services, 8 contacts involved natural gas service, 33 contacts involved cell phone service, 21 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 1 contact was related to the Grain Warehouse Division, and 11 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

1,143 of the 1,237 complaints received in 2011 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL11-001     In the Matter of the Petition of Black Hills Power, Inc. to Establish an Environmental Measures Cost Recovery Tariff (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Ms. Glynda Rahn, Black Hills Power Inc. (BHP), stated BHP filed a petition to establish an Environmental Improvement Adjustment (EIA) cost recovery tariff and, simultaneous with that filing, on January 26, 2011, BHP requested recovery of costs incurred to install environmental measures related to the Wyodak Power Plant which it jointly owns with PacifiCorp. Ms. Rahn added that these measures were initiated to comply with the EPA's Regional Haze Rule and will provide additional benefit and protect against proposed environmental legislation. BHP has entered into a Settlement Stipulation with Commission Staff and requested that the Commission grant the joint motion for approval of the Settlement Stipulation for rates effective June 1, 2011. Mr. Jon Thurber, staff analyst, believes the environmental improvements made to the Wyodak Power Plant qualify as eligible investments under SDCL 49-34A-97. Staff filed a memorandum in support of the stipulation, with a portion of the memorandum as confidential.

     Commissioner Kolbeck moved to grant the Joint Motion for Approval of the Settlement Stipulation and approve the rates, terms, and conditions stipulated therein effective June 1, 2011. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL11-007     In the Matter of the Petition for Declaratory Ruling of Black Hills Power, Inc., regarding the Proposed Black Hills Power Wind Project (Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Staff Attorneys:  Kara Semmler, Ryan Soye)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding the Petition for Declaratory Ruling of Black Hills Power, Inc., regarding the Proposed Black Hills Power Wind Project. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2011, May 31, 2011, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2011/default.aspx.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant Staff's Motion to Dismiss the Petition for Declaratory Ruling of Black Hills Power, Inc., regarding the Proposed Black Hills Power Wind Project.Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL11-009     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Approval of its Electric Cost Adjustment (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Ms. Glynda Rahn, Black Hills Power Inc. (BHP), stated this is a standard annual filing but a new mechanism was approved in their last rate case and this filing adheres to that approved mechanism. BHP requested the Commission approve the 2011 Electric Cost Adjustment with rates effective June 1, 2011. Mr. Dave Jacobson, staff analyst, stated that normal fuel clause filings do not require Commission approval but in this case a decision regarding Black Hill's deferral is involved. Mr. Jacobson recommended approval of the application including revised tariff sheets with an effective date of June 1, 2011.

     Commissioner Kolbeck moved to approve the 2011 Electric Cost Adjustment with revised tariff sheets effective June 1, 2011. Motion carried 3-0. 

Natural Gas

1.     NG11-003     In the Matter of the Application of NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Authority to Increase its Natural Gas Rates (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

         Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, stated that pursuant to SDCL 49-34A-14, Staff recommended that the Commission suspend the imposition of the tariff for 180 days beyond May 20, 2011, and pursuant to SDCL 49-1A-8, Staff recommended assessing a filing fee for actual expenses up to the statutory limits of $100,000.

         Commissioner Nelson moved to suspend the imposition of the tariff for 180 days beyond May 20, 2011, and assess a filing fee for actual expenses not to exceed $100,000. Motion carried 3-0.

One Call

1.     OC10-006     In the Matter of the Complaint Filed by NorthWestern Energy, Huron, South Dakota, Against Scott Olson Digging, Inc., Huron, South Dakota (One Call Executive Director: Larry Janes, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, stated that despite adequate and proper notification, Scott Olson Digging, Inc. (Respondent) failed to participate in the One Call Complaint Process. The Respondent failed to pay the civil penalty and is now in violation of the Board Order. The One Call Board sent the necessary demand letter to the Respondent and requested the Commission's assistance in enforcing its Order.

     Commissioner Kolbeck moved to grant the request of the South Dakota One Call Board to pursue civil action for recovery of the penalty pursuant to SDCL 49-7A-28 .Motion carried 3-0.

2.     OC10-007     In the Matter of the Complaint Filed by NorthWestern Energy, Huron, South Dakota, Against Scott Olson Digging, Inc., Huron, South Dakota (One Call Executive Director: Larry Janes, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, stated that despite adequate and proper notification, Scott Olson Digging, Inc. (Respondent) failed to participate in the One Call Complaint Process. The Respondent failed to pay the civil penalty and is now in violation of the Board Order. The One Call Board sent the necessary demand letter to the Respondent and requested the Commission's assistance in enforcing its Order.

     Commissioner Kolbeck moved to grant the request of the South Dakota One Call Board to pursue civil action for recovery of the penalty pursuant to SDCL 49-7A-28 .Motion carried 3-0.

3.     OC10-008     In the Matter of the Complaint Filed by NorthWestern Energy, Huron, South Dakota, Against Scott Olson Digging, Inc., Huron, South Dakota (One Call Executive Director: Larry Janes, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, stated that despite adequate and proper notification, Scott Olson Digging, Inc. (Respondent) failed to participate in the One Call Complaint Process. The Respondent failed to pay the civil penalty and is now in violation of the Board Order. The One Call Board sent the necessary demand letter to the Respondent and requested the Commission's assistance in enforcing its Order.

     Commissioner Kolbeck moved to grant the request of the South Dakota One Call Board to pursue civil action for recovery of the penalty pursuant to SDCL 49-7A-28 .Motion carried 3-0.

4.     OC10-009     In the Matter of the Complaint Filed by Otter Tail Power Company, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Against Robert Kohl Construction, Peever, South Dakota (One Call Executive Director: Larry Janes, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, stated that despite adequate and proper notification, Robert Kohl Construction, Inc. (Respondent) failed to participate in the One Call Complaint Process. The Respondent failed to pay the civil penalty and is now in violation of the Board Order. The One Call Board sent the necessary demand letter to the Respondent and requested the Commission's assistance in enforcing its Order.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the request of the South Dakota One Call Board to pursue civil action for recovery of the penalty pursuant to SDCL 49-7A-28 .Motion carried 3-0.

 

/S/ Lennis Axdahl
Lennis Axdahl
Administrative Secretary
May 31, 2011