DR 98-082 BELL ATLANTIC Special Contract with City of Nashua for Centrex Service Order Granting Motion for Proprietary Treatment O R D E R N O. 23,024 September 22, 1998
On May 14, 1998, New England Telephone and Telegraph Company (Bell Atlantic) filed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (Commission), pursuant to RSA 378:18, a special contract with the City of Nashua for Centrex Services. By Order No. 22,952, the Commission approved the proposed special contract. The Commission's order noted that it would rule on Bell Atlantic's contemporaneously filed Motion for Confidentiality (Motion) in a separate order. The Motion seeks to exempt from disclosure certain terms within the special contract's Appendix B (collectively the Information). According to Bell Atlantic, the Information contains information that is within the exemptions from disclosure set forth in RSA 91-A:5,IV and N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.08 as well as Federal Communications Commission rules and Section 222(f)of the Communications Act of 1934 which was incorporated into the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Specifically, the Information identifies the City of Nashua's chosen service features, pricing and incremental costs, and contract terms such as special rates and billing details. Bell Atlantic does not seek to protect either the relevant rates and charges or the term of years, consistent with recent Commission orders. Furthermore, citing the Commission's conclusions in Order No. 21,731 in DR 95-069, Re New England Telephone and Telegraph Company d.b.a. NYNEX, 80 NH PUC 437 (1995), Bell Atlantic seeks confidential treatment solely of the incremental cost data underlying the special contract. Bell Atlantic's motion states that it regularly seeks to prevent dissemination of similar confidential information in the ordinary course of its business. The Motion goes on to enumerate the measures Bell Atlantic has taken to prevent dissemination of the Information in the ordinary course of business. Thus, Bell Atlantic has satisfied the requirements of Puc 204.06(c)(3). In addition, the Motion provides statements by which the Commission can conclude that the Information, if made public, would likely create a competitive disadvantage for Bell Atlantic pursuant to Puc 204.06(c)(1). Based on the company's representations, under the balancing test we have applied in prior cases, e.g.,Re New England Telephone and Telegraph Company d.b.a. NYNEX, supra,; Re New England Telephone Company (Auditel), 80 NHPUC 437 (1995); Re Bell Atlantic, Order No. 22,851 (February 17, 1998); Re EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc., Order No. 22,859 (February 24, 1998), and as required by Puc 204.06(b), we find that the benefits to Bell Atlantic of non-disclosure in this case outweigh the benefits to the public of disclosure. We will, therefore, grant Bell Atlantic's Motion for Protective Treatment pursuant to RSA 91-A:15, IV and N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06. Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby ORDERED, that Bell Atlantic's Motion for Confidential Treatment is GRANTED; and it is FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order is subject to the on-going rights of the Commission, on its own motion or on the motion of Staff, 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-second 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