DR 97-242
                               BELL ATLANTIC
                   Special Contract with St. Mary's Bank
              Order Granting Motion for Proprietary Treatment
                         O R D E R  N O.  22,833 
                             January 12, 1998
         On November 26, 1997, New England Telephone and
     Telegraph Company, now d/b/a Bell Atlantic (Bell Atlantic), filed
     with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (Commission),
     pursuant to RSA 378:18, a special contract with St. Mary's Bank
     for Centrex Services.  Bell Atlantic also filed a contract
     overview and a cost study in support of the special contract.
         On the same date, Bell Atlantic filed a Motion for
     Proprietary Treatment to exempt the cost study and certain terms
     of the special contract and its appendices (collectively, the
     Information) from public disclosure pursuant to RSA 91-A and N.H.
     Admin. Rules Puc 204.05 and 204.06.
         On December 16, 1997, the Commission approved the
     proposed special contract, without ruling on Bell Atlantic's
     Motion.  Pursuant to Puc 204.05(b) the Commission has maintained
     the Information confidential as provided in Puc 204.06(d) unless
     and until the Commission itself rules otherwise.  Bell Atlantic
     filed full, unredacted copies of the special contract as well as
     unredacted copies, consistent with the Commission's mandate to
     maintain the maximum level of public access to Commission
         In its motion, Bell Atlantic states that the
     Information contains details of specific service features,
     pricing and incremental costs, and other information for specific
     customer locations, opportunities for growth, and engineering
     features.  Bell Atlantic asserts that this Information falls
     within the exemptions from disclosure set forth in RSA 91-A:5,
     IV, as further defined in Puc 204.06.  In particular, Bell
     Atlantic asserts facts describing how release of the Information
     would provide competitors with an unfair competitive advantage in
     developing marketing strategies.  The benefits of non-disclosure,
     as measured by the described competitive harm inflicted on Bell
     Atlantic and the general body of ratepayers as a result of
     disclosure, outweigh the benefits of disclosure, according to
     Bell Atlantic, thus satisfying the requirements of Puc 204.06(b). 
         Bell Atlantic's motion presents facts demonstrating
     that the Information meets the requirements of Puc 204.06(c),
     that is, information which is confidential, research,
     development, financial, or commercial information.  The
     demonstration includes evidence showing the Information is not
     general public knowledge or published elsewhere and that measures
     have been taken to prevent dissemination in the ordinary course
     of business, thus satisfying the requirement of Puc 204.06(c). 
     Specifically, a Bell Atlantic pricing analyst attests that the
     Information is compiled from internal data bases that are not
     publicly available and which are protected from dissemination
     either by Bell Atlantic employees or by non-Bell Atlantic
     employees.  Further, Bell Atlantic asserts that St. Mary's Bank
     itself takes measures to prevent dissemination of the
         The Commission recognizes that the Information is
     critical to our review of the proposed special contract.  Based
     on the company's representations, under the balancing test we
     have applied in prior cases, e.g., Re New England Telephone
     Company (Auditel), 80 NHPUC 437 (1995), we find that the benefits
     to Bell Atlantic of non-disclosure in this case outweigh the
     benefits to the public of disclosure.  
         Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
         ORDERED, that Bell Atlantic's Motion for Proprietary
     Treatment is GRANTED; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order is subject to the on-going rights of the Commission, on its own motion or on the
     motion of Staff, any party or any other member of the public, to
     reconsider this Order in light of RSA 91-A, should circumstances
     so warrant.
         By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this twelfth day of January, 1998.
        Douglas L. Patch    Bruce B. Ellsworth        Susan S. Geiger
            Chairman           Commissioner            Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary