DR 98-162 EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc. COST OF GAS ADJUSTMENT PROCEEDING Granting EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc.'s Motion for Protective Order and Confidential Treatment O R D E R N O. 23,021 September 21, 1998
On September 15, 1998, EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc. (ENGI) filed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (Commission) a Motion for Protective Order and Confidential Treatment (Motion) of information that would identify ENGI's gas suppliers and certain terms of the gas supply agreements negotiated by ENGI with said suppliers. ENGI seeks protection of this information as it relates to the pending Cost of Gas Adjustment (CGA) proceeding in both the discovery and the hearing phases of this docket. In its Motion, ENGI states that the documents contain confidential commercial information and trade secrets which fall within the exemption from public disclosure of RSA 91-A:5, IV and N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06. ENGI also states that it does not disclose the identified information and terms to anyone outside its corporate affiliates and representatives. The Commission recognizes that the information identified above is critical to the review of the CGA filing by the Commission, the Commission Staff (Staff) and the Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA). This is the type of information which was anticipated would be protected when N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06 was adopted. The Commission also recognizes that the information contained in the filing is sensitive commercial information in a competitive market. Thus, based on ENGI's representations, under the balancing test we have applied in prior cases, e.g., Re NET (Auditel), 80 NHPUC 437 (1995), Re Eastern Utilities Associates, 76 NHPUC 236 (1991), we find that the benefits to ENGI of non-disclosure in this case outweigh the benefits to the public of disclosure. The information, therefore, is exempt from public disclosure pursuant to RSA 91-A:5,IV and N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06. Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby ORDERED, that ENGI's Motion for Protective Treatment is GRANTED to allow Staff and the OCA to review fully the CGA filing and to protect from public disclosure the information delineated above which is relevant to the pending CGA proceeding; and it is FURTHER ORDERED, that with regard to the CGA identified information and terms, ENGI shall submit a redacted CGA filing for public review and provide three unredacted copies for the Commission, Staff, and the OCA; and it is FURTHER ORDERED, that in future filings, ENGI shall continue to submit, concurrent with its request for confidential treatment, both redacted and three unredacted filings which the Commission shall protect from disclosure during the pendency of its review of the request for confidentiality, pursuant to N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06; and it is FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order is subject to the ongoing rights of the Commission, on its own motion or on the motion of Staff or any party or any other member of the public to reconsider this Order in light of RSA 91-A, should circumstances so warrant. By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New Hampshire this twenty-first 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