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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 8, 2012, at 9:30 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building
Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Chairman Chris Nelson called the meeting to Order. Present were: Commissioner: Kristie Fiegen; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Ryan Soye and Kara Semmler; Staff Analysts: David Jacobson, Nathan Solem, Cindy Kemnitz, Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber, and Patrick Steffensen; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Demaris Axthelm.

Also present were: Melissa Baruth and Pam Bonrud, NorthWestern Energy; and Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing South Dakota Telecommunications Association.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Commissioner: Gary Hanson; Brad Howard, Suzan Stewart, and Katherine Kunert, MidAmerican Energy Company; Brett Ferenehak, Scott Sawyer, and Mary Buley, Onvoy, Inc. dba Onvoy Voice Services; Wendy Harper, Vantage Point Solutions, representing SS Telecom and Sancom, Inc., dba Mitchell Telecom, Daryl Anderson, Montana Dakota Utilities; Randy Risen, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Tom Hutchins, MidAmerican Energy Company; and Chris Kilpatrick, Black Hill Power, Inc.

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meeting Held on April 24, 2012, and the Ad Hoc Commission Meeting Held on April 26, 2012 (Staff: Joy Irving)

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the minutes of the Commission Meeting held on April 24, 2012, and the Ad Hoc Commission Meeting Held on April 26, 2012. 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 78 contacts since the last report was prepared for the April 24, 2012 Commission meeting.

12 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 20 of the contacts involved electrical services, 11 contacts involved natural gas service, 8 contacts involved cell phone service, 13 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, and 14 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.
703 of the 721 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

2,760 of the 2,760 complaints received in 2011 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL12-029     In the Matter of the Application of Black Hills Power, Inc. for Approval of its Environmental Improvement Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Brittany Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Mr. Ryan Soye, staff attorney, requested that the Commission assess a filing fee of up to $50,000. Mr. Chris Kilpatrick stated that Black Hills Power, Inc. had no objections.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to assess a filing fee in the amount of up to $50,000 to account for actual expenses incurred in review of this filing commencing from the filing date. Motion carried 3-0.

Natural Gas

1.     NG12-002     In the Matter of the Filing by MidAmerican Energy Company for Approval of Its 2011 Economic Development Activities and 2012 Proposed Budget (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Suzan Stewart, MidAmerican Energy Company, asked the Commission for approval of its 2011 Economic Development Annual Report and 2012 Economic Development Plan. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated that staff reviewed the 2011 actual expenses, which were in line with those proposed last year, and the 2012 Proposed Budget is very similar to the proposed budgets approved in the past.  Mr. Steffensen recommended approval of the 2011 Economic Development Activities and 2012 Proposed Budget.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve MidAmerican's 2011 Economic Development Activities and 2012 Proposed Budget. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC12-028     In the Matter of the Filing by Knology of the Plains, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated that staff had reviewed Knology of the Plains' tariff revisions for compliance with the VoIP-PSTN provisions of the recent FCC order. Knology submitted a revised tariff on May 1, 2012.  Mr. Steffensen recommended approval of the tariff effective as filed.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the requested tariff changes. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC12-030     In the Matter of the Application of Onvoy, Inc. dba Onvoy Voice Services for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant a Certificate of Authority to Onvoy, Inc. dba Onvoy Voice Services (Onvoy) to Provide Facilities-Based and Resold Local Exchange Telecommunications Services in South Dakota. On April 30, 2012, the Commission received an indemnity bond in the amount of $25,000, as Onvoy plans to bill for services before those services are rendered. Mr. Steffensen recommended approval subject to maintenance of a $25,000 continuous bond and rural safeguards.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the Certificate of Authority to Onvoy, Inc. subject to maintenance of a $25,000 continuous bond and rural safeguards. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC12-032     In the Matter of the Filing by SSTELECOM, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Intrastate Switched Access Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated that staff had reviewed the SSTELECOM tariff revisions for compliance with the VoIP-PSTN provisions of the recent FCC order.  SSTELECOM concurs with all rates, terms, and conditions of the LECA tariff excluding the exceptions defined in its tariff.  Since SSTELECOM's interstate switched access rates exceed its intrastate switched access rates, LECA's VoIP provisions need to be one of these exceptions. Staff recommended approval of the tariff with a December 29, 2011 effective date.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the requested tariff changes. Motion carried 3-0.

4.     TC12-033     In the Matter of the Filing by Sancom, Inc. dba Mitchell Telecom for Approval of Revisions to its Intrastate Switched Access Tariff No. 1 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated that staff had reviewed the Sancom tariff revision for compliance with the VoIP-PSTN provisions of the recent FCC order.  Mr. Steffensen said Sancom concurs with all rates, terms, and conditions of the LECA tariff excluding the exceptions defined in its tariff. Since Sancom's interstate switched access rates exceed its intrastate switched access rates, LECA's VoIP provisions need to be one of these exceptions. Staff recommended approval of the tariff with a December 29, 2011 effective date.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the requested tariff changes. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     TC12-034     In the Matter of the Filing by Sprint Communications Company L.P. for Approval of Revisions to its Access Services Tariff No. 3 (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. David Jacobson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval to Sprint Communications Company L.P. to withdraw the filing.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the withdrawal of this filing. Motion carried 3-0.

Items for Commission Discussion

1.     On May 4, 2012, pipeline safety staff filed a letter as an informational filing, 2012 Info PS01. The letter requests Commission guidance regarding pipeline penalties in light of legislation to take effect on July 1, 2012, that increases the penalty maximum.

A lengthy discussion took place regarding an Informational Filing, 2012 Info for PS01. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; May 8, 2012, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2012/default.aspx.

There being no further business, at the hour of 10:29 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

 

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
May 8, 2012