DE 97-251
                         New England Power Company
                           and FINANCE AUTHORITY
     Order Granting New England Power Company's Motions for Protective
                     Order and Confidential Treatment
                         O R D E R   N O.  22,885
                              March 30, 1998
         On February 13, 1998 and March 4, 1998, New England
     Power Company (NEP) filed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities
     Commission (Commission) a Motion for Protective Order and
     Confidential Treatment (Motion) of information that would
     disclose NEP's finances and competitive information that it
     contends could be harmful to NEP's business position and could
     affect financial markets.  In addition, on March 24, 1998 NEP
     filed revised responses intended to supersede the information
     filed on March 4, 1998.
         In the Motion filed February 12, 1998, NEP seeks
     protection of certain information required by N.H. Admin. Rule,
     Puc 308.11(b)(6) F-4 Authority to Issue Securities, "Source and
     Application of Funds and Capitalization."  Specifically, NEP is
     seeking protection for the three (3) years of forecasted data
     pertaining to a statement of capitalization ratios which result
     from the proposed financing.
         In the Motion filed March 4, 1998, NEP seeks protection
     of information as it relates to responses to Staff Confidential
     Data Requests 1 through 6 and the confidential data produced in
     response to Staff Data Request 1-26 in both the discovery and the
     hearing phases of this docket.  The March 24, 1998 filing
     contains revisions to the same responses.
         In its Motion, NEP states that the documents contain
     confidential financial and competitive information which fall
     within the exemption from public disclosure of RSA 91-A:5, IV and
     N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06.  NEP also states that it does not,
     as a matter of policy, disclose the identified information and
     terms to anyone outside its corporate affiliates and
     representatives or under nondisclosure agreements or requests for
     protective treatment.
         The Commission recognizes that the information
     identified above is critical to the review of the NEP filing by
     the Commission. This is the type of information which was
     anticipated would be protected when N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06
     was adopted.  The Commission also recognizes that the information
     contained in the filing is sensitive commercial information in a
     competitive market.  Thus, based on NEP's representations, under
     the balancing test we have applied in prior cases, e.g., Re New
     England Telephone & Telegraph Company (Auditel), 80 NH PUC 437
     (1995); Re Bell Atlantic, Order No. 22,851 (February 17, 1998);
     Re EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc., Order No. 22,859 (February 24,
     1998), we find that the benefits to NEP of non-disclosure in this
     case outweigh the benefits to the public of disclosure.  The
     information, therefore, is exempt from public disclosure pursuant
     to RSA 91-A:5,IV and N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06.
         Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
         ORDERED, that NEP's Motions for Protective Treatment
     filed on February 13, 1998 and March 4, 1998, and as revised by
     its March 24, 1998 filing, are GRANTED; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order is subject to the
     ongoing 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 thirtieth day of March, 1998.
        Douglas L. Patch    Bruce B. Ellsworth        Susan S. Geiger
            Chairman           Commissioner            Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary