DR 96-150
                         CONCORD ELECTRIC COMPANY
                 Electric Utility Restructuring Proceeding
                    Order Denying Motion for Rehearing
                         O R D E R   N O.  22,922
                               May 11, 1998
         On April 20, 1998, Exeter & Hampton Electric
     Company, Concord Electric Company and Unitil Corporation
     (Unitil or the Companies) filed a Motion for Rehearing of
     Order No. 22,875 (March 20, 1998).  Unitil seeks rehearing
     on our directive to distribution companies to use as part of
     their compliance filings a generic return on equity.  Unitil
     avers the generic return on equity specified by the
     Commission, 10.2%, was based on no record evidence or legal
     basis to support the equity return for Concord Electric
     Company or Exeter & Hampton Electric Company.  Unitil states
     this was a new determination by the Commission which was not
     addressed in the Commission's February 28, 1997 generic
     restructuring order.  Unitil also questions whether the
     Commission's use of 10.2%, the last Commission approved
     equity return for an electric utility, would result in an
     unconstitutional taking of Unitil's property without just
     and reasonable compensation.      
         The Commission has considered Unitil's Motion for
     Rehearing and will deny it without prejudice at this time. 
     The Commission clearly stated that "[t]he ROE component of
     distribution rates will be set based on traditional rate
     making principles. For compliance filing purposes, we direct
     each utility to use the last Commission-approved ROE for an
     electric utility, 10.2%; however, we will adjust that
     component of distribution rates based on the outcome of
     individual rate cases."  Order No. 22,875 at 30.  
         The Companies, and the other electric distribution
     companies, will have ample opportunity in their compliance
     proceedings to justify what they believe is an appropriate
     return on equity in light of the specific circumstances
     facing each utility.  Further, Unitil made no assertions
     that the generic return on equity we used solely for a
     starting point for compliance filings would contravene the
     standards set by the United States Supreme Court in Federal
     Power Commission v. Hope Natural Gas Company, 320 U.S. 591
     (1944).  We invite Unitil to support whatever return on
     equity it believes is appropriate for Concord Electric
     Company or Exeter & Hampton Electric Company as part of the
     compliance proceeding or in a rate case.
         Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
         ORDERED, that the Motion for Rehearing is DENIED
     without prejudice.
         By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this eleventh day of May, 1998.
      Douglas L. Patch    Bruce B. Ellsworth     Susan S. Geiger
          Chairman           Commissioner         Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary