DR 96-150
                        STATEWIDE ELECTRIC UTILITY
                            RESTRUCTURING PLAN
                  Order Addressing Implementation Date  
                         O R D E R   N O.  22,971
                               July 1, 1998
         Pursuant to RSA 374-F, as amended by Senate Bill
     341, the Commission is required to implement retail choice
     for all customers of utilities under its jurisdiction by
     July 1, 1998, unless the Commission finds that delay is
     required by events beyond the Commission's control.  We
     herein find that delay is unavoidable due to the amended
     preliminary injunction issued by the United States District
     Court in the litigation initiated by Public Service Company
     of New Hampshire (PSNH) last year.  The injunction applies
     to enforcement actions of the Commission relative to PSNH,
     the Unitil Companies, Connecticut Valley Electric Company
     and Granite State Electric Company.     
          The preliminary injunction states that the
     Commission is 
          enjoined from requiring any plaintiff, including
               plaintiff/intervenors, to implement [RSA] 374-F in
               accordance the New Hampshire Public Utilities
               Commission's orders issued in the Electric
               restructuring Docket DR 96-150, or requiring
               plaintiffs to take any action under those orders,
               including the filing of compliance plans.       
     A copy of the preliminary injunction, which was issued on
     June 12, 1998, is attached to this order as Exhibit A.  The
     Commission is pursuing an expedited appeal of this order at
     the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
          Despite the obstacles created by the PSNH lawsuit,
     we note that significant progress has been made in the case
     of two utilities.  In a special public meeting held on June
     26, 1998, the Commission conditionally approved a settlement
     proposal offered by Granite State Electric Company (GSEC)
     and various other stakeholders.  See Commission Docket, DR
          Finally, we note that the New Hampshire Electric
     Cooperative Inc.(NHEC), has submitted a compliance filing
     and we have established a procedural schedule to address
     that filing.  See DR 98-097.  Although NHEC is not a
     plaintiff in the federal court litigation, in Order No.
     22,513 (February 28, 1997) we observed that NHEC's interim
     stranded cost charges could be established only after a
     decision was issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory
     Commission relative to the wholesale requirements contract
     between NHEC and PSNH.  On May 29, 1998, FERC issued an
     order which will enable us to establish NHEC's interim
     stranded cost charges, and we intend to do so consistent
     with FERC's decision.  Nonetheless, this cannot be done by
     July 1, 1998, again due to circumstances beyond the control
     of the Commission.
          Despite the fact that retail competition cannot be
     accomplished by July 1, 1998 the Commission will endeavor to
     implement retail competition consistent with our obligations
     under state and federal law as soon as possible.
          Based upon the foregoing; it is hereby
          ORDERED, that it is in the public interest to
     delay electric industry restructuring beyond July 1, 1998
     due to circumstances beyond the control of this Commission.  
          By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this first day of July, 1998.
        Douglas L. Patch  Bruce B. Ellsworth     Susan S. Geiger
            Chairman         Commissioner         Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary
     1. PSNH et al., v. Patch et al., N.H. Case No. 97-97-JD,
     R.I. Case No. 97-121L.
     2.See, Order Dismissing Complaint, Directing Submittal of
     Compliance Filing, and Rejecting Alternate Rate Schedule, 83
     FERC  61,223 (May 29, 1998).