DR 98-199
                    NORTHERN UTILITIES, INC.
           Petition for Approval of Sale of Property
              Order Granting Protective Treatment
                    O R D E R  N O.  23,106 
                        January 12, 1999
       On December 24, 1998, Northern Utilities, Inc.
     (Northern) filed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities
     Commission (Commission) a Motion for Protective Order (Motion)
     pertaining to the customer usage and billing data of the Schiller
     Plant in Newington, NH for the past two years which is contained
     in Northern's response to Data Request TDR-5. 
       In its Motion, Northern states that the documents
     include customer specific information containing valuable
     marketing information which falls within the exemption from
     public disclosure of RSA 91-A:5,IV and N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc
     204.06.  Northern also states that the information is
     competitively sensitive and constitutes commercial and financial
     information, disclosure of which to a potential competitor or the
     public would harm Northern's interests and its ratepayers and
     would constitute an invasion of the customer's right to privacy. 
     Northern further states that it does not disclose the identified
     information and terms to anyone outside its corporate affiliates
     and representatives. 
       We recognize that the information identified above is
     important to the review of Northern's proposed sale of the
     Gosling Road Lateral by the Commission, Staff and the Office of
     Consumer Advocate (OCA).  We also recognize the need for
     confidential treatment of customer specific, competitively
     sensitive information.  Based on the company's representations,
     under the balancing test we have applied in prior cases, 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 Northern of non-disclosure in
     this case outweigh the benefits to the public of disclosure.  We
     will, therefore, grant Northern's Motion for Protective Treatment
     pursuant to RSA 91-A:5,IV and N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06. 
         Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
         ORDERED, that Northern's Motion for Protective
     Treatment is GRANTED to allow Staff and the OCA to review fully
     the customer usage and billing data of the Schiller Plant in
     Newington, NH and to protect from public disclosure the
     information delineated above which is relevant to the proceeding;
     and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that Northern's original and revised
     responses to Data Request TDR-5 shall be and hereby are
     designated as protected material; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that Northern shall submit a redacted
     Response to TDR-5 for public review; 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 twelfth day of January, 1999.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary