DE 98-124
                             GAS RESTRUCTURING
              Unbundling and Competition in the Gas Industry
            Order Approving Methodology For Developing a Record
                         O R D E R   N O.  23,018
                            September 14, 1998

         APPEARANCES: McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton by
     Steven Camerino, Esq. for EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc.; LeBoeuf,
     Lamb, Greene & MacRae, L.L.P by Meabh Purcell, Esq. for Northern
     Utilities Inc.; Ransmeier & Spellman by Dom S. D'Ambruoso, Esq.
     for New Hampshire Gas Corporation & New York State Electric & Gas
     Corporation; Office of the Consumer Advocate, by William Homeyer,
     Esq.; and, Gary Epler, Esq. for the Staff of the New Hampshire
     Public Utilities Commission. 
               On July 8, 1998, the Commission issued an order of
     notice opening a docket to address unbundling and competition in
     the gas industry.  The order directed interested parties to file
     written recommendations on the objectives, procedures and
     methodology to be employed for developing a record pertinent to
     gas restructuring and competition.  In addition, the Commission
     directed interested parties and Staff to conduct a technical
     session on August 18, 1998 to review the recommendations and
     attempt to adopt a common approach to developing a record. 
               At the hearing, Commissioner Geiger, presiding, noted
     and granted the requests for intervention by New Hampshire Gas
     Corporation (NHGC), New York State Gas & Electric Corporation
     (NYSEG), City of Manchester (Manchester), MainePower, AllEnergy
     Marketing Company, L.L.C. (AllEnergy) and Enron Energy Services
               Commission Staff (Staff) indicated that recommendations
     had been received by EnergyNorth Natural Gas Inc. (ENGI),
     Northern Utilities, Inc. (Northern), Office of Consumer Advocate
     (OCA), NHGC, NYSEG, Enron, and Manchester.  Staff stated that
     pursuant to the order of notice, a technical session was held on
     August 18, 1998. Staff noted that representatives of ENGI, OCA,
     Northern, NHGC & NYSEG, AllEnergy, and Enron were in attendance.  
               Staff set forth the issues at the technical session as
          A.   The parties and Staff agreed to follow the recommended
                    procedures submitted by ENGI with the caveat that if
                    the procedures proved to be inefficient, the parties
                    reserved the right to petition for a change in the
          B.   The parties and Staff agreed that in order to conserve
                    resources, Staff would perform the role of facilitator.
                    However, it was agreed that the role of the facilitator
                    would be reviewed in the event of conflict, or in the
                    interest of efficiency. 
          C.   The parties and Staff agreed that the proceeding was to
                    be conducted as a collaborative and that it did not
                    lend itself to a formal procedural schedule at this
                    time.  In place of a procedural schedule, the
                    participants have scheduled the following dates and
                    activities for initiation of the collaborative;
                    Educational Sessions, September 28, 29, 1998,
                    Discussion of Issues, October 14, 15, November 3, 4,
                    and December 1, 2, 1998.  The Commission is invited to
                    the educational sessions should the Commission
                    determine it is appropriate to attend.
          D.   The parties and Staff have agreed to submit reports to
                    the Commission at critical phases or when milestones
                    have occurred.
          E.   The parties and Staff have agreed to investigate the
                    use of customer surveys and focus groups as a means of
                    obtaining a customer viewpoint on restructuring the
          F.   The parties and Staff agreed that it would be premature
                    given the collaborative process for the parties to
                    deliver preliminary positions at the August 26, 1998
               On the issue of bifurcation, Staff indicated that given
     the collaborative nature of the proceeding, and the fact that
     Staff has not formulated a position, the issue was not ripe.
               ENGI and Northern stressed the need for input from
     customers and indicated that feedback should be obtained early in
     the process.  Northern also noted that although it had agreed to
     Staff acting in the facilitator role, it might be necessary to
     examine other possibilities.
               Staff noted that it had been in contact with the
     Consumer Affairs Division concerning this issue and was prepared
     to address the issue at the October meetings.  The Commission
     also indicated that the Consumer Affairs Division had recent
     experience working with consultants in public relations and
     advertising in the electric Restructuring proceeding.
               With respect to a potential end date to the proceeding,
     Staff anticipated a filing by early summer, however, it should be
     noted that some of the parties felt that an early June filing was
     overly optimistic. 
               The Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire
     (BIA) requested intervention orally and was directed to file a
     motion in writing and the parties were advised to file written
     objections if appropriate. 
               We recognize the complexity of this proceeding and
     agree with the parties and Staff that a collaborative approach is
     the most preferable procedure for developing a record.  We
     acknowledge that as the process develops it may be necessary to
     entertain an alternative approach should circumstances warrant. 
     Consequently, we approve the procedures presented and filed by
     Staff at the hearing.
               In response to an oral request for intervention by the
     BIA at the hearing, BIA was directed to file a petition in
     writing and advised the parties to respond where appropriate.
     Seeing no objection, we approve the motion of BIA to intervene.
               We also note that this proceeding was predicated upon
     severable earlier dockets and that there is some confusion with
     respect to the service list.  With the exception of the natural
     gas utilities, all interested parties must file petitions for
     intervention in the instant docket. 
               Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby 
               ORDERED, that the recommended procedures and schedule
     for developing a record are adopted; and it is
               FURTHER ORDERED, that the late-filed Petition to
     Intervene of the BIA is granted; and it is
               FURTHER ORDERED, that all interested parties who have
     not previously submitted Petitions to Intervene do so on or
     before September 24, 1998; and it is
               FURTHER ORDERED, that any party objecting to a Petition
     to Intervene make said Objection on or before September 28, 1998.
               By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this fourteenth day of September, 1998.
       Douglas L. Patch    Bruce B. Ellsworth    Susan S. Geiger
           Chairman           Commissioner        Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary