Articles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court

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Black Hills Power, Inc. (BHP), a public utility in South Dakota, filed an application to increase electric rates with the South Dakota Public Utility Commission. Black Hills Industrial Intervenors (BHII) filed a motion to intervene in BHP’s rate-increase application, which the Commission granted. The parties agreed to a settlement stipulation regarding the increase in December 2014. BHP, however, sought to amend the stipulation in February 2015. The Commission granted the amended settlement stipulation and approved the rate increase. BHII appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission properly ruled that BHP could submit adjustments to the settlement stipulation after the filing of the initial application; (2) the Commission did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in its consideration of pension expenses; and (3) the evidence was sufficient to support the Commission’s inclusion of portions of BHP’s incentive-compensation plan. View "In re Application of Black Hills Power, Inc." on Justia Law

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Montana Dakota Utilities Co. and Otter Tail Power Company (together, Applicants) applied to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) for a permit to construct a high-voltage electrical transmission line. Applicant’s project would cross one part of Gerald Pesall’s farm. Pesall intervened and was granted party status. Pesall objected to the project, arguing that excavating and moving soil to construct the project could unearth and spread a crop parasite. The Commission granted the permit subject to conditions, including a condition to identify and mitigate the potential parasite problem. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was no abuse of discretion in the Commission’s decision to grant a conditional permit rather than requiring reapplication; (2) the permit condition relating to the parasites did not constitute an improper delegation of the Commission’s authority to a private party; and (3) the Commission timely rendered complete findings on the permit application. View "Pesall v. Montana Dakota Utils., Co." on Justia Law