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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
June 19, 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: Commissioners: Kristie Fiegen and Gary Hanson; Commission Counsel: John Smith and Rolayne Wiest; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorneys: Karen Cremer, Kara Semmler, and Ryan Soye; Staff Analysts: Chris Daugaard, Brian Rounds, Matthew Tysdal, Brittany Mehlhaff, Jon Thurber, David Jacobson, Jim Mehlhaff, and Patrick Steffensen; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Joy Irving.

Also present were: Margo Northrup, Riter, Rogers, Wattier, and Northrup LLP, representing Midstate Telecom Inc.; Bill Van Camp, Olinger, Lovald, McCahren & Reimers, P.C., representing AT&T Communications of the Midwest, Inc.; and Jim Wilcox and Kari Valley, Xcel Energy.

Joining the meeting by telephone were: Kavita Maini, representing SD Public Utilities Commission Staff; Laura McCarten, Deb Paulson, Tom Kramer, Jim Alders, Rick Johnson, and Jim Coyne, Xcel Energy; Brenda Sandahl, Jason Grenier, John Gabre, and Kim Pederson, Otter Tail Power Co.; Tamie Aberle and Mike Kingery, Montana Dakota Utilities; Bruce Hanson, Fort Randall Telephone Company; Kathy Ford, Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz, & Smith LLP, representing Midcontinent Communications; Meredith Moore, Cutler & Donahoe, LLP, representing OrbitCom, Inc., Knology of the Plains, Inc., and Knology of the Black Hills, LLC.; Talbot Wieczorek, Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLC, representing Sprint Communications Company LP.

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on May 22, 2012, and June 5, 2012 (Staff: Joy Irving)
        
     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on May 22, 2012, and June 5, 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 June 19, 2012 Commission meeting.

8 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 29 of the contacts involved electrical services, 8 contacts involved natural gas service, 11 contacts involved cell phone service, 10 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 1 contact involved the Grain Warehouse Division, 1 contact was related to the Keystone XL Pipeline and 10 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

901 of the 926 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL11-019     In the Matter of the Application of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Authority to Increase its Electric Rates (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, David Jacobson, Brittany Mehlhaff, Brian Rounds, Matthew Tysdal; Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding Docket EL11-019. The transcript can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions: Commission Minutes: 2012 - http://puc.sd.gov/commission/minutes/2012/transcriptel11-019061912.pdf. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; May 22, 2012, Hearing for Docket EL11-019, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/puc06192012.mp3.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the inclusion of the South Dakota jurisdictional costs of the Nobles Wind Farm in rate base in the amount of Xcel's actual costs to construct the wind farm, including associated interconnection facilities, and approve the resulting revenue requirement. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the value for cost of long term debt of 6.13% as proposed by Xcel and agreed to by Staff's witness. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve a return on common equity of 9.25%. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the use of the end of year capital structure as proposed by Mr. Copeland consisting of a long term debt percentage of 46.96% and a common equity percentage of 53.04%. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved that the Commission direct Staff and Xcel to compute the overall rate of return resulting from the actions just taken by the Commission and have those provided to the Commission by June 21, 2012, to make the needed model runs and analysis to finalize the additional adjustments to rate inputs resulting from the Commission's decisions made this date and, to file such additional information and conforming tariffs sheets with the Commission. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL12-034     In the Matter of the Filing by Otter Tail Power Company Regarding Its 2011 Report and 2012 Energy Efficiency Plan Update (Staff Analysts: Brian Rounds, Ross Pedersen, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Ms. Kim Pederson, Otter Tail Power Company (Otter Tail), asked the Commission for approval of its financial incentive for the 2011 Energy Efficiency Plan and approval to increase the energy adjustment surcharge as part of its 2012 Energy Efficiency Plan update from $0.00063 per kWh to $0.00088 per kWh. Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval to Otter Tail's Energy Efficiency Plan.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve Otter Tail Power Company's 2011 EEP Report and accompanying Financial Incentive, approve the company's 2012 EEP Update, and the corresponding surcharge adjustment and tariff changes. Motion carried 3-0.

Gas & Electric

1.     GE12-003     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for Approval of Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU) asked the Commission for approval of its tariff revisions to its gas rate schedule and electric rate schedule "Agreement by Property Owner or Agent to Pay Utility Bills during Periods when Property is Unoccupied." Ms. Aberle stated that Montana-Dakota is proposing revisions modifying this agreement, commonly referred to as the Landlord Agreement, including changing the name of the agreement to "Continuous Service Agreement."  Mr. Dave Jacobson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval of MDU's tariff changes.

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

Grain

     Commissioner Hanson recused himself due to a potential appearance of conflict of interest.

1.     GW12-002     In the Matter of the Grain Dealer's Bond of Anderson Seed Co., Inc. (Staff Analyst: Jim Mehlhaff, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Ms. Kara Semmler, staff attorney, stated that the Commission Staff has been appointed Receiver of Anderson Bond Proceeds and recommended that proceeds be allocated pursuant to staff's filing.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the recommendations offered by staff and establish the procedures to administer claims and determine entitlement to bond proceeds. In accordance with such recommendations and further moved that notice be sent through certificated mail, return receipt requested. Motion carried 2-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC09-009     In the Matter of the Filing by Midstate Telecom, Inc. for an Extension of an Exemption from Developing Company Specific Cost-Based Switched Access Rates (Staff Analyst: Jon Thurber, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Margo Northrup, Midstate, asked that the Commission dismiss and close this matter as the docket is no longer necessary due to rule changes. Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended that the Commission dismiss and close the docket.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to dismiss and close the docket. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson stated that dockets TC11-071 and TC11-072 would be heard together.

2.     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)
        
3.     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, representing AT&T, stated that AT&T filed an application for an ETC designation. Mr. Van Camp asked that the Commission dismiss and close the dockets.  Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission dismiss and close the dockets.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to dismiss and close the dockets for TC11-071 and TC11-072.Motion carried 3-0.

4.     TC11-090     In the Matter of the Application of Wholesale Carrier Services, Inc., for a Certificate of Authority to Provide Interexchange Long Distance Services and Local Exchange Services in South Dakota (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Dave Jacobson, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission deny the application from Wholesale Carrier Services, Inc., (Wholesale) for a certificate of authority as Wholesale failed to provide information demonstrating sufficient technical, financial, and managerial capabilities.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to deny Wholesale Carrier Services, Inc.'s application for a certificate of authority. Motion carried 3-0.

5.     TC11-100     In the Matter of the Filing by Fort Randall Telephone Company for Approval of its Intrastate Switched Access Services and Facilities Tariff (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended grant approval of Fort Randall Telephone Company's tariff revisions with the modifications proposed by staff. Mr. Bruce Hanson, Fort Randall Telephone Company, agreed to staff's recommended changes to the revised tariffs.

         Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the tariff revision with the modifications recommended by staff. Motion carried 3-0.

6.     TC12-039     In the Matter of the Approval of an Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and USA Mobility Wireless, Inc. for the State of South Dakota (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, stated that the agreement was properly filed, executed, and does not appear to contain discriminatory provisions. Staff recommended that the Commission approve the amendment to the interconnection agreement.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the amendment to the interconnection agreement.  Motion carried 3-0.

7.     TC12-065     In the Matter of the Joint Application of the OrbitCom, Inc., Knology of the Plains, Inc. and Knology of the Black Hills, LLC for Waiver of ARSD ยงยง 20:10:29:10, 20:10:29:12 and 20:10:29:16 (Staff Analyst: David Jacobson, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket TC12-065. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; June 19, 2012, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/Archives/2012/default.aspx.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant Midcontinent's Petition to Intervene and Join in Application for Waiver and AT&T and Sprint's Petitions to Intervene.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the waiver requirements identified in ARSD 20:10:29:10, 20:10:29:12, and 20:10:29:16 for OrbitCom, Inc., Knology of the Plains, Inc., Knology of the Black Hills, LLC, Midcontinent, and AT&T. Motion carried 3-0.

There being no further business, at the hour of 11:04 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

 

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
June 19, 2012