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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
August 14, 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, Nathan Solem, Josh Williams, Brittany Mehlhaff, and Patrick Steffensen; Consumer Affairs Supervisor: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Tina Douglas and Sherry Dickerson

Also present were:
Thomas Burns, Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Steve Lehner and Todd Chambers, Watertown Municipal Utilities; Dori Quam, Ron Gogolin, and Heather Grahame, NorthWestern Energy; Jim Wilcox, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Rod Bowar, Kennebec Telephone Company, Inc.; Rich Coit, South Dakota Telecommunications Association; and Mary Lohnes, Midcontinent Communications

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Anne Heuer, Lisa Kallberg, and Paul Lehman, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy; Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities; Kim Stumpp, Consortia Consulting, representing Kennebec Telephone Company, Inc.; Scott Anderson, Midcontinent Communications; Paul Bergman, Jefferson Telephone Company; Jim Cremer, Bantz, Gosch, & Cremer, LLC., representing James Valley Wireless, LLC, and James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company; Don Price, Verizon Access Transmission Services; and Carey Roesel, Technologies Management, Inc. representing Sage Telecom, Inc. and Birch Communications

Administration

1.     Approval of the Minutes of the Commission Meetings Held on July 17, 2012. (Staff: Joy Irving)

    Commissioner Hanson moved to approve the minutes of July 17, 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 51 contacts since the last report was prepared for the July 31, 2012 Commission meeting.

10 of the contacts involved telecommunication services, 12 of the contacts involved electrical services, 6 contacts involved natural gas service, 7 contacts involved cell phone service, 7 contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, 1 contact was related to One Call, 1 contact was related to Wind Energy and 7 contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC.

1,164 of the 1,193 complaints received in 2012 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL12-035     In the Matter of the Petition of Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy for Approval of its 2011-2012 Transmission Cost Recovery Eligibility and Rate Adjustment (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Ross Pedersen, Staff Attorneys: Ryan Soye, Kara Semmler)

Mr. Jim Wilcox, Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy, requested that the Commission approve its 2011-2012 transmission cost recovery (TCR) project eligibility and rate adjustment. Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant the joint motion for approval of settlement stipulation and adopt the attached stipulation without modification.

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

2.     EL12-040     In the Matter of the Request for a Declaratory Ruling regarding the Electric Service Territory Boundary between NorthWestern Energy and Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Staff Analyst: Ross Pedersen, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding Docket EL12-040. The transcript can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions: Commission Minutes: 2012 - http://puc.sd.gov/commission/minutes/2012/transcriptel12-040081312.pdf. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC Web site under Commission Actions; Commission Meeting Archives; 2012; August 14, 2012, for Docket EL12-040.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to adopt staff's recommendation to establish the territory line as the southern boundary of government lots 1 and 2 and that Codington-Clark be granted a territory exception to continue serving the particular locations it is are serving today. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL12-044      In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. for Approval of Tariff Revisions (Staff Analyst: Matthew Tysdal, Staff Attorney: Ryan Soye)

Ms. Tamie Aberle, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU), requested that the Commission approve its tariff revisions.  Mr. Matthew Tysdal, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the proposed tariff revisions. Motion carried 3-0.

Pipeline Safety

1.     PS12-002     In the Matter of the Filing by Commission Pipeline Safety Staff for Approval of a Penalty for a Pipeline Safety Violation by Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy (Staff Analysts: Nathan Solem, Joshua Williams, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Josh Williams, staff analyst, Pipeline Safety Staff, requested that the Commission assess a $750.00 penalty against Northern States Power Company dba Xcel Energy due to noncompliance regarding results of a Drug and Alcohol Plan inspection conducted on December 12-14 and 21, 2011, and March 2 and 5-7, 2012. Mr. Williams stated that the inspection revealed a violation of 49 CFR ยง199.105(c). Specifically, Xcel Energy excluded DOT covered gas only employees from random annual drug testing.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to adopt Staff's recommendation and assess a $750.00 penalty against Xcel. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     In the Matter of the Request for Certification Regarding the Use of Federal Universal Service Support in Dockets TC12-041, TC12-062, TC12-077, TC12-081 and TC12-082

     TC12-041     In the Matter of the Request of Kennebec Telephone Co., Inc. for Certification Regarding Its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-062     In the Matter of the Request of Midcontinent Communications for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-077     In the Matter of the Request of Jefferson Telephone Company for Certification Regarding Its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-081     In the Matter of the Request of James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     TC12-082     In the Matter of the Request of James Valley Wireless, LLC for Certification Regarding its Use of Federal Universal Service Support (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission provide certification to the FCC and USAC.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to provide certification to the Federal Communications Commission and to the Universal Service Administration Company regarding the plan for the use of Federal Universal Services Support as proposed in each of the above dockets. Motion carried 3-0.

2.     TC12-101     In the Matter of the Filing by MCImetro Access Transmission Services LLC dba Verizon Access Transmission Services for Approval of Revisions to its Tariff No. 2 (Staff Analyst: Chris Daugaard, Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Mr. Don Price, Verizon Access Transmission Services (Verizon Access), requested approval of its Tariff No. 2. Mr. Price stated that the revised tariff pages in this filing reflect Verizon Access' implementation of the intercarrier compensation regime for certain VoIP-PSTN traffic, as modified by the FCC's Second Reconsideration Order ("Reconsideration Order"), released on April 25, 2012. Mr. Chris Daugaard, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval of Verizon Access' Tariff No. 2 with an effective date of July 13, 2012.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve the requested tariff changes with an effective date of July 13, 2012. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     TC12-103     In the Matter of the Filing by Sage Telecom, Inc. for Approval of Revisions to its Tariff No. 3 (Staff Analyst: Brian Rounds, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Carey Roesel, Technologies Management, Inc. representing Sage Telecom, Inc. (Sage), asked the Commission for approval of revision to its Access Service Tariff No. 3. Mr. Brian Rounds, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission grant approval with an effective date for this revision of July 1, 2012.

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

4.     TC12-106     In the Matter of the Filing by Ionex Communications North, Inc. dba Birch Communications for Approval of Revisions to its Tariff No. 6 (Staff Analyst: Patrick Steffensen, Staff Attorney: Kara Semmler)

Mr. Carey Roesel, Technologies Management, Inc. representing Ionex Communications North, Inc. dba Birch Communications (Birch Communications), asked the Commission for approval of its revision to its tariff No. 6. Mr. Patrick Steffensen, staff analyst, stated staff reviewed the Birch Communications tariff revisions for compliance with the transitional terminating switched access rate provisions of the recent FCC order.  Mr. Steffensen explained that Birch Communications uses a composite rate for both its interstate and intrastate switched access rates and took an average of the two in calculating their transitional terminating rate.  He said that on July 25th, Birch requested waivers from the specific provisions in rules ARSD 20:10:29:10, 20:10:29:12, and 20:10:29:16 that state "the per minute charge is equal for both originating and terminating traffic."  Mr. Steffensen recommended that approval of the waivers from those specific rule provisions and approval of the tariff revisions with a July 3, 2012 effective date.

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

5.     TC12-116     In the Matter of the Approval of an Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and XO Communications Services, LLC (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended approval of the ICC VoIP Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and XO Communications Services, LLC.

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

6.     TC12-118     In the Matter of the Approval of an Amendment to an Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Bandwidth.com CLEC, LLC (Staff Attorney: Karen Cremer)

Ms. Karen Cremer, staff attorney, recommended approval of the ICC VoIP Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Bandwidth.com CLEC, LLC. 

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

     There being no further business, at the hour of 10:55 a.m. the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/S/Joy Irving
Joy Irving
Administrative Assistant
puc@state.sd.us
August 14, 2012