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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
November 22, 2011, at 9:30 A.M. CST AND 2:00 P.M. CST
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Gary Hanson called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commissioner Chris Nelson and Commissioner Kristie Fiegen; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Kara Semmler, and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: Dave Jacobson, Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Ross Pedersen, Brittany Mehlhaff, Matthew Tysdal, Jon Thurber, and Bobbi Bourk; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Demaris Axthelm.

Also present were: Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing South Dakota Network; Pam Bonrud, Jeff Decker, and Kristi Wallman, Northwestern Energy; Bill Van Camp, Olinger, Lovald, McCahren, and Reimers, P.C., representing AT&T Mobility, LLC.; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; Mark Benton, Midstate Communications, Inc.; Bryan Morlock, Otter Tail Power Company; and Bill Heaston, South Dakota Network.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Brian Bird and Kendall Kliewer, NorthWestern Energy; Philip Schenkenberg, Briggs and Morgan, P.A., and Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLC representing Sprint Communications Company L.P.; Chris Madsen and Tom Welk, Boyce, Greenfield, Pashby, and Welk, LLP, representing Qwest Corporation dba Century Link, QC; Basil Copeland, Bob Towers, and Dave Peterson, Chesapeake Regulatory Consultants, Inc., representing Commission Staff; Meredith Moore, Cutler & Donahoe, LLP representing Midstate Communications, Inc.; Bruce Gerhardson, Otter Tail Power Company; and Dan Doyle, Cutler & Donahoe, LLP, representing Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc.

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting held on November 8, 2011. (Staff: Joy Irving).

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the minutes of the Commission Meeting held on November 8, 2011. Motion carried 3-0.

Consumer Reports

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

The Commission received a total of 80 contacts since the last report was prepared for the October 25, 2011 Commission meeting.

14 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 21 of the contacts involved electrical services, 13 contacts involved natural gas service, 1 contact involved gas and electric service, 8 contacts involved cell phone service, 12 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 11 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

2,490 of the 2,513 complaints received in 2011 have been resolved.

Electric

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 Joint Motion for approval of Settlement Stipulation filed by Commission staff which can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2011, November 22, 2011, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2011/default.aspx
       
        Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Joint Motion for approval of Settlement Stipulation with the exception of minor adjustments to the customer notice. Motion Carried 3-0.

Natural Gas – To be heard at 2:00 p.m.

1.     NG11-003     In the Matter of the Application of NorthWestern Corporation dba NorthWestern Energy for Authority to Increase its Natural Gas Rates (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)
       
A lengthy discussion took place regarding the Application of NorthWestern Energy for Authority to Increase its Natural Gas Rates which can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2011, November 22, 2011, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2011/default.aspx.
               
        Chairman Hanson moved to grant the Joint Motion for Approval of the Settlement Stipulation and approve the rates, tariff sheets, terms and conditions as stipulated. Motion Carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

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: Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Phil Schrenkenberg, Sprint, stated NAT and Sprint have reached an agreement on Sprint's Motion to Enforce Subpoenas and modify Procedural Schedule and asked the Commission not to take any action at this time. The other questions were deferred.
       
2.     TC10-026     In the Matter of a Complaint Filed by Sprint Communications Company, LP Against Native American Telecom, LLC Regarding Telecommunications Services  (Staff Analyst: Dave Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

       
        Mr. Phil Schrenkenberg, Sprint, stated NAT and Sprint have reached an agreement on Sprint's Motion to Compel and asked the Commission not to take any action at this time.

3.     TC11-083     In the Matter of the Joint Application of Hills Telephone Company, Splitrock Properties, Inc., and Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc., for an Amendment to Certificate of Authority of Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Dan Doyle, Alliance Communications, asked the Commission grant an amended certificate of authority to Alliance. Mr. Chris Daugaard recommended approval and asked the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority.

        Commissioner Nelson moved to grant an Amended Certificate of Authority to Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc. Motion Carried 3-0.

Commissioner Hanson stated dockets TC11-071 & TC11-072 be heard together.
       
3.     TC11-071     In the Matter of the Application of New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, a subsidiary of AT&T Mobility LLC, for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in Rural Study Areas (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

4.     TC11-072     In the Matter of the Application of New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, a subsidiary of AT&T Mobility LLC, for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in Non-Rural Study Areas (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Bill Van Camp, AT&T, asked the proceedings be stayed pending review of a recent FCC order affecting ETCs. Chairman Hanson stated both the dockets be held over until a later date.
       
5.     TC11-087     In the Matter of the Application of Native American Telecom, LLC for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Bobbi Bourk, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding Petition to Intervene in the matter of the Application of NAT for a Certificate of Authority to provide Interexchange Telecommunications Services and Local Exchange Services which can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2011, November 22, 2011, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2011/default.aspx.

        Chairman Hanson moved to grant Intervention to Midstate, AT&T, Sprint, Qwest, and SDTA. Motion Carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 2:36 p.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for December 6, 2011.

 

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
November 22, 2011