DR 98-025
           Requests for Temporary and Permanent Rates
     Order Scheduling Prehearing Conference, Establishing a
               Procedural Schedule and Hearing on
          Temporary Rates and Suspending Tariff Pages
                     O R D E R  N O. 22,926
                          May 12, 1998
                                  On March 4, 1998, the New Hampshire Electric
     Cooperative, Inc. (NHEC or the Company), pursuant to N. H.
     Admin. Rule Puc 1604.05, filed with the New Hampshire Public
     Utilities Commission (Commission) a notice of intent to file
     rate schedules.  On April 14, 1998, NHEC filed its Base Rate
     Application seeking an increase in permanent retail rates of
     approximately $4.68 million or 5.1%, effective July 1, 1998,
     with supporting testimony and exhibits.  Subsequently, on
     April 15, 1998, NHEC submitted a motion requesting temporary
     pursuant to RSA 378:27, with a proposed effective date of
     July 1, 1998, for the duration of this proceeding.  The
     proposed temporary rate increase would increase rates 5.1%
     across all classes of service.
         The filing raises, inter alia, the appropriate
     level and allocation of temporary and permanent rates, the
     resulting Times Interest Earned Ratio (TIER) and Debt
     Service Coverage (DSC), and changes to the Company's tariff. 
     Other issues include the effect of the proposed rates on the
     Company's rate of return on rate base and Conservation &
     Load Management surcharges, the recovery of incremental
     set-up costs related to restructuring, and the replacement
     of the Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) factor with a Power Cost
     Recovery Charge (PCRC) which would "unbundle" or separate
     power cost recovery from the recovery of delivery costs, as
     well as the adjustments made to test year revenues and
         Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
         ORDERED, that a Prehearing Conference, pursuant to
     N.H. Admin. Rules Puc 203.05, be held before the Commission
     located at 8 Old Suncook Road, Concord, New Hampshire on
     June 10, 1998 at 10:00 am, at which each party will provide
     a preliminary statement of its position with regard to the
     petition and any of the issues set forth in N.H. Admin Rule
     Puc 203.05(c) shall be considered; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that the Prehearing Conference
     may be tape recorded unless a party, at least 5 days in
     advance of the Prehearing Conference, requests a transcript,
     in which case the Commission shall order a stenographic
     record, pursuant to N.H. Admin. Rule Puc 203.05(d); and it
         FURTHER ORDERED, that, immediately following the
     Prehearing Conference, NHEC, the Staff of the Commission and
     Intervenors hold a Technical Session to review the petition
     and allow NHEC to provide any amendments or updates to its
     filing and to propound oral data requests on the temporary
     rates; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that the following procedural
         Oral Data Requests by Staff and           June 10,
            and Intervenors on Temporary 
         Written Follow-up Data Requests to        June 11,
            Temporary Rates to be faxed by
            the close of business
         Responses to Oral Data Requests           June 19,
            Propounded at the 1st
            Technical Session
         Testimony on Temporary Rates              July 2,
            by Staff and Intervenors                
         Settlement Conference on                  July 8,
            Temporary Rates
         Filing of Settlement Agreement,          July 10,
            if any
         Hearing on Temporary Rates               July 15,
         Data Requests Set #1 by Staff            July 30,
            and Intervenors on Permanent
         Company Data Responses to Set #1       August 13,
         Technical Session                      August 24 , 1998 
         Data Requests Set #2 by Staff        September 4,
     1998        and Intervenors
         Company Data Responses to Set #2    September 17,
         Testimony by Staff and                October 15 , 1998 
         Data Requests by the Company          October 29,
         Data Responses by Staff and          November 12 , 1998 
         Settlement Conference on             November 19 , 1998 
            Permanent Rates at 10:00 A.M.
         Filing of Settlement, if any         November 30,
         Hearings, daily at 10:00 A.M.        December 8,
     9, 10                                            and 11,
     is established unless otherwise ordered following the
     prehearing conference; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that pursuant to N.H. Admin.
     Rules Puc 203.01, NHEC shall notify all persons desiring to
     be heard at this hearing by publishing a copy of this Order
     of Notice no later than May 15, 1998, in a newspaper with
     statewide and general circulation in those portions of the
     state in which operations are conducted, publication to be
     documented by affidavit filed with the Commission on or
     before June 10, 1998; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that pursuant to N.H. Admin.
     Rules Puc 203.02, any party seeking to intervene in the
     proceeding shall submit to the Commission an original and
     eight copies of a Petition to Intervene with copies sent to
     NHEC and the Office of the Consumer Advocate on or before
     June 5, 1998, such Petition stating the facts demonstrating
     how its rights, duties, privileges, immunities or other
     substantial interests may be affected by the proceeding, as
     required by N.H. Admin. Rule Puc 203.02 and RSA
     541-A:32,I(b); and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that any party objecting to a
     Petition to Intervene make said Objection on or before June
     10, 1998; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that NHEC's proposed tariff,
     NHPUC No. 18 - Electricity, is hereby suspended pending
     further review and decision.            
         By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this twelfth day of May, 1998.
        Douglas L. Patch    Bruce B. Ellsworth          Susan S.
            Chairman           Commissioner                  Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary