DR 97-219


           Special Contract No. NHPUC-139 with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.    
    Order Nisi Approving Special Contract No. NHPUC-139

                           O R D E R  N O.  22,814

December 31, 1997                     

  On October 8, 1997, the Petitioner, Public Service
Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) filed with the New Hampshire
Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) a ten-year special contract,
Special Contract No. NHPUC-139 (NHPUC-139), between PSNH and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart), a Delaware Corporation having a
place of business in Raymond, New Hampshire.  Construction on the
1.1 million square foot (26 acres) Wal-Mart Central Warehouse and
Distribution Center (CWDC), located in Raymond, New Hampshire,
began in the summer of 1995 and was completed in the summer of
1996.  The CWDC provides employment for over six-hundred people.
  The filing by PSNH was made pursuant to RSA 378:18 and
the Checklist for Economic Development and Business Retention
Special Contracts as outlined in DR 91-172.  NHPUC-139 is
proposed to be effective for a period of ten years commencing
October 23, 1997, or upon the effective date as stated in the
Commission order.  PSNH's filing included the special contract,
an explanatory statement, and a cover letter summarizingtechnical and special reliability requirements for this
  In order to supply reliable energy to this new
facility, Wal-Mart requested and PSNH agreed to design and
construct an enhanced distribution supply system specifically
designed to provide the CWDC with highly reliable electric
service.  The service provided under NHPUC-139 includes provision
of electric service through a highly reliable distribution system
configuration and an enhanced service agreement not normally
available under PSNH's Tariff.  All technical specifics are
defined in the NHPUC-139 filing.  
  An essential component of the agreement between Wal-Mart and PSNH is that PSNH would be assured total recovery of the
excess cost of the distribution enhancements and services
provided to Wal-Mart at their CWDC.  In order to assure this
recovery, NHPUC-139 requires that Wal-Mart agrees to take service
for 24 months from PSNH under 1) PSNH's Rate LG, or 2) PSNH's
Tariff NHPUC No. 1 - Electricity Delivery, or 3) unbundled retail
distribution service for the term of this agreement.  If Wal-Mart
discontinues one of these services prior to July 1, 1998 then
Wal-Mart must compensate PSNH for a pro-rated portion of the
excess costs incurred by PSNH and not yet recovered.  The
"Recovery Period" for PSNH incurred costs associated with the
enhanced distribution service provided to Wal-Mart under NHPUC-139 is from July 1, 1996 through June 30, 1998.  NHPUC-139 also
requires PSNH to install capacitors,  without cost to Wal-Mart,
at the CWDC in order to correct their power factor to 95%. 
Although PSNH built facilities for capacitor installation in the
summer of 1996, capacitors were not installed until December 16,
1997.  This agreement can be terminated at any time by either
party with one month's written notice.
  It should be noted that because the new CWDC facility
meets criteria to be considered "New Load" under the pilot
program, the CWDC is currently receiving PSNH delivery service as
a pilot customer.  The CWDC will continue to be able to choose
their energy supplier after full-scale competition occurs.
  Commission Staff has reviewed NHPUC-139 and the
supporting materials filed with it and recommends approval.  We
have conducted our review pursuant to RSA 378:18 which authorizes
the approval of special contracts and find that the contract is
in the public interest.  However, while the parties executed the
contract on October 1, 1997 to take effect October 23, 1997, it
seems reasonable under the circumstances, namely the delayed
installation of capacitors and the benefits they would have
brought, to make the contract effective the date of execution. 
  Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
  ORDERED NISI, that Special Contract No. NHPUC-139
between PSNH and Wal-Mart as filed on October 8, 1997 is
approved; and it is 
  FURTHER ORDERED, that the Commission hereby waives that
portion of PUC 1601.02(c), that requires Special Contracts to be
filed at least 15 days in advance of the effective date, so that
Special Contract No. NHPUC-139 will be retroactively effective as
of October 1, 1997; and it is
  FURTHER ORDERED, that PSNH recalculate bills rendered
from October 1, 1997 to the current bill as if required
capacitors were installed and immediately credit the account with
any savings so calculated including monthly interest at the prime
rate; and it is
  FURTHER ORDERED, that pursuant to N.H. Admin. Rules PUC
203.01, PSNH shall cause a copy of this Order Nisi to be
published once in a statewide newspaper of general circulation,
such publication to be no later than January 8, 1998 and to be
documented by affidavit filed with this office on or before
January 15, 1998; and it is
  FURTHER ORDERED, that any interested party may file
written comments or request an opportunity to be heard in this
matter no later than January 22, 1998; and it is
  FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order Nisi will be effective
on January 28, 1998, unless the Commission provides otherwise in
a supplemental order issued prior to the effective date.
  By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
Hampshire this thirty-first day of December, 1997.

Douglas L. Patch        Bruce B. Ellsworth        Susan S. Geiger
    Chairman              Commissioner              Commissioner

Attested by:

Thomas B. Getz
Executive Director and Secretary