DE 98-086
       Order Establishing Customer Polling Schedule
                  O R D E R  N O.  23,115
                     January 26, 1999
               On May 18, 1998, the New Hampshire Public Utilities
     Commission (Commission) received a petition from Rep. Kenneth R.
     Marshall signed by approximately 100 Boscawen customers
     (Petitioners) of Kearsarge Telephone Company (KTC) requesting
     expansion of the 796 local calling area, also known as Extended
     Area Services (EAS), to include Concord.  
               On July 31, 1998, the Commission issued an Order of
     Notice scheduling a hearing for August 20, 1998.  The Order of
     Notice indicated that EAS petitions are subject to a standard
     established by Order No. 22,204 issued June 18, 1996 which
     includes consideration of community of interest, the effect on
     telecommunications competition within New Hampshire, and
     consistency with state and federal law.
               On August 20, 1998, the Commission heard comments from
     members of the public.  The Commission accepted written comments
     until August 27, 1998.
               On October 7, 1998, the Commission by Order 23,039,
     determined that Concord is a community of interest for at least a
     sizeable group of residents of Boscawen and granted the
     Petitioners' request to poll the residents of Boscawen on the
     issue of expanding EAS for the 796 exchange to include Concord. 
     No reciprocal ballot of Concord customers is necessary because
     expansion of the Concord EAS to include Boscawen will not result
     in a rate group change. 
               KTC's analysis finds a $99,773 net revenue loss as a
     result of the proposed EAS expansion of the 796 exchange. For
     purposes of this docket, partial compensation for lost revenue
     results in the following charges: for a one party residential
     customer, expanded calling to Concord would cost an additional
     $4.22 a month and $8.23 a month for business.  Net revenue loss
     will be considered in the ongoing overearnings investigation in
     Docket DE 98-158.  The EAS charge for each customer class and
     each route will be delineated in greater detail on the ballot.  
               Staff has analyzed information provided by KTC and
     determined that KTC's recommendation for the proposed basic rate
     increase for each exchange expansion is reasonable.  
               We concur with Staff's recommendation and, therefore,
     will commence with the balloting of the customers in the Boscawen
     Exchange, to be conducted according to the following schedule:
          Ballots sent by Commission . . February 17, 1999
          Ballots returned by. . . . . . March 8, 1999
          Ballots tabulated by . . . . . March 15, 1999
               Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
               ORDERED, that a vote on the EAS issue by Boscawen
     customers, shall be conducted based on the local rate increase
     listed on the ballot, if Concord were included in the local
     calling area.
               By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this twenty-sixth day of January, 1999.
            Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger        Nancy Brockway
                Chairman             Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Claire D. DiCicco
     Assistant Secretary