The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has
its origins in an 1838 statute that provided for appointment
of commissioners in each New Hampshire County having
limited powers regarding railroads. This was the first
attempt by any state to regulate transportation. The
County boards were consolidated into a State Board of
Railroad Commissioners in 1844, the first such board
in the nation.
In 1911, the New Hampshire Legislature enacted comprehensive
legislation which instituted a new system for the establishment
and regulation of public utilities and railroads in
the state. As a result, the Public Service Commission
was created as a state tribunal and given broad supervisory
and regulatory powers over public utilities. The name
Public Service Commission was changed in 1951 to Public
Utilities Commission, its present title. In 1979, the
Legislature made the commissioners full-time positions
and generally amended the structure and guidelines of
On June 26, 1985, Governor John Sununu established
the Department of Transportation (DOT) to which the
Commission's transportation functions were transferred.
The statutory definition of public utility in RSA 362:2
was changed to exclude railroads, passenger carriers,
toll bridges, toll roads, carriers of household goods
for hire by motor vehicle and motor vehicles carrying
property for hire.
Various amendments to RSA 363 in the 1980s removed
the Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA) from the direct
control of the Commission, and made it independent of
the Commission except for shared use of business office
and support functions.
In 1996, the legislature enacted RSA 374-F which initiated
the restructuring of the electric utility industry in
New Hampshire. The goal of restructuring was to reduce
cost and harness the power of a competitive world by
introducing customer choice to the generation segment
of the electric industry.