DR 98-139
         Public service company of New Hampshire, Inc.
Special Contract Service Rates/Proposed Generic Modification of
                   Certain Special Contracts
              Order Granting Protective Treatment
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,085
                       December 14, 1998
       On May 31, 1998, Public Service Company of New
     Hampshire (PSNH) initiated this proceeding with the filing of a
     tariff revision designed to modify certain special contracts. 
     The filing was made by PSNH in order to ensure that customers
     taking service under special contracts tied to the PSNH's Fuel
     and Purchased Power Adjustment Clause (FPPAC) would receive the
     benefit of a base rate reduction they would not otherwise receive
     without this modification. 
       PSNH was allowed to reduce the rates to these customers
     by maintaining the "BA" component in effect prior to the issuance
     of Order No. 22,946.  The Commission issued an Order of Notice in
     this proceeding on July 31, 1998.  Following the prehearing
     conference, the Parties and Staff attempted to enter into a
     mutually acceptable agreement that would resolve all of the
     issues raised by proposed modification to the special contracts.
       As part of the Commission's investigation into the
     appropriateness of the modification of the special contracts,
     Commission Staff requested some of the same information from PSNH
     it had received as part of the initial investigation into the
     special contract.  This information included customer specific
     load and employment information.  
       PSNH supplied the information, but requested that the
     Commission grant protective treatment to the information pursuant
     to RSA 91-A:5, IV and N.H. Admin. R., Puc 204.08 to prevent its
     general dissemination to the public. In support of its motion,
     PSNH averred that the material contained confidential financial
     or commercial information which, if revealed, would provide
     costing information to the special contract customers'
     competitors.  PSNH indicated Wausau Papers, Anheuser-Busch,
     Textron, Portland Pipeline, Monadnock Paper Mills, the Office of
     the Consumer Advocate and Staff assented to the Motion.  James
     Rodier did not object to protective treatment in this proceeding,
     but reserved his right to argue this or similar information
     should be disclosed in some other proceeding.      
       We find that the information contained in the data
     response meets the requirements of N.H. Admin. Rule Puc 204.06
     (b) and (c).  Based on PSNH's representations, under the
     balancing test we have applied in prior cases, See e.g., 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), we find
     that the benefits to PSNH of non-disclosure in this case outweigh
     the benefits to the public of disclosure.  The Information should
     be exempt from public disclosure pursuant to RSA 91-A:5,IV and
     N.H. Admin. Rule 204.06.   
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
       ORDERED, that Public Service Company of New Hampshire,
     Inc.'s Motion for Protective Order is GRANTED; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order is subject to the
     ongoing rights of the Commission, on its own motion, 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 fourteenth day of December, 1998.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary