DR 98-058
                         Wilton Telephone Company
                    Order Approving Procedural Schedule
                         O R D E R   N O.  22,960
                               June 23, 1998
         On April 20, 1998 the New Hampshire Public
     Utilities Commission (Commission) issued an Order of Notice
     pursuant to RSA 365:5 and 378:7 opening an investigation
     into the level of earnings of Wilton Telephone Company
     (Wilton).  The Order of Notice scheduled a prehearing
     conference for May 27, 1998 to address the issue of
     temporary rates, to consider motions to intervene, and to
     establish a procedural schedule.  By letter dated May 18,
     1998, the Commission postponed the hearing on temporary
     rates to June 19, 1998.
         At the duly noticed Prehearing Conference on May
     27, 1998, there were no intervenors.  Wilton, the Office of
     the Consumer Advocate (OCA), and the Commission Staff
     (Staff) agreed upon the following procedural schedule:
          Staff Audit                   July 15 - August 12,1998
          Staff Data Requests           August 7, 1998
          Company Data Responses        August 25, 1998
          Staff Testimony               September 16, 1998
          Company Data Requests         September 30, 1998
          Staff Data Responses          October 14, 1998
          Settlement Discussions        October 21, 1998
                                         (10:00 a.m.)
          Company Testimony             November 4, 1998
          Staff Data Requests           November 10, 1998
          Company Data Responses        November 18, 1998
          Settlement Discussions        November 23, 1998
          Stipulation, if any, 
            to Commissioners            December 2, 1998
          Hearings                      December 15-16, 1998
               Also at the prehearing conference, in accordance
     with the Order of Notice, the parties and Staff stated their
     initial positions.  Wilton agreed that it is in a position
     of overearning but opposed temporary rates.  Wilton
     expressed its willingness to negotiate a settlement and
     belief that the above lengthy procedural schedule would not
     be needed.  The OCA asserted that Wilton is earning 50% more
     than its allowed rate of return.  The OCA proposed to set
     temporary rates at current levels if the Company was willing
     to use its overearnings to eliminate any increase in rates
     which might otherwise result from the introduction of EAS in
     its territory.   Otherwise, the OCA would recommend the
     Commission order an immediate reduction in rates.  Staff
     asserted that overearnings exist and recommended that
     temporary rates be set at current levels, noting that rates
     would ultimately be trued up or down appropriate at the
     conclusion of the permanent rate case.
               We find the stipulated procedural schedule is
     reasonable and just.  We encourage Staff and the parties to
     work together to reach an agreement resolving the issues
               Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
               ORDERED, that the procedural schedule stipulated
     to by the parties and Staff is adopted to govern our
     investigation in this proceeding.
               By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this twenty-third day of June, 1998.
        Douglas L. Patch  Bruce B. Ellsworth     Susan S. Geiger
            Chairman         Commissioner         Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Claire D. DiCicco
     Assistant Secretary