DW 99-016
                     WESCO Utilities, Inc.
   Hearing on Deficiencies and the Appropriateness of Fines,
            Penalties and/or Revocation of Franchise
                      Order to Show Cause 
        Why Fines or Penalties Should Not Be Imposed or
     Authority to Operate as a Public Utility Reconsidered,
       as a Result of Deficiencies in Company Operations 
                       and Responsiveness
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,134
                        February 1, 1999
       WESCO is a public water utility serving approximately
     27 customers in the Town of Hooksett.  On September 30, 1997, the
     Commission, by Order No. 22,744, approved a Settlement Agreement
     (Agreement) granting WESCO Utilities (WESCO) a 26.8% rate
     increase. Re WESCO Utilities, 82 NH PUC 709 (1997). The Agreement
     also provided that WESCO would undertake certain system
     improvements and actions including:
     a) immediately addressing the cause of entrained air in the
     b)move eight outside customer meter readers and increase the pump
     station operating pressure range to 50-65 psi by September 30,
     c) report the status of (a) and (b) above to the Commission by
     October 15, 1997; 
     d) apply for a waiver of DES testing requirements by March 15,
     e)purchase a back up well pump end, install well air tube and
     tank sight tubes, replace pump station compressor, mag starter
     and light fixture by September 30, 1998; provided, however, that
     these expenditures shall not be incurred prior to resolution of
     issues regarding potential transfer of the water system to the
     Hooksett Village Precinct or prior to six months from the
     Commission's order, whichever occurs first;
     f) complete testing of all customer meters, address the stolen 
     water issue and implement any appropriate counter-measures and
     install a single two inch blowoff at the intersection of Springer
     Road and Pine Street by September 30, 1998; 
     g)the company owner or owners attend at least one water-related
     seminar, meeting or course annually; and
     h) enter into meaningful discussions with the Hooksett Village
     Precinct regarding the possibility of transfer of the system to
     the Precinct. 
       On January 12, 1999, Mr. Mark Cloutier filed with the
     New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (Commission) a letter
     asserting that WESCO Utilities (WESCO) was in violation of
     Commission Orders and regulations and that water service was, for
     a variety of reasons, inadequate.  Mr. Cloutier recommended that
     WESCO be placed in receivership and sold to the Hooksett Village 
     Precinct.  On the same date, Mr. Cloutier submitted to the
     Commission a petition reportedly signed by a number of the WESCO
     customers asking the Commission to, among other things,
     investigate WESCO for not complying with Order No. 22,744.
       Also, on January 12, 1999, Douglas W. Brogan, Staff
     Water Engineer, submitted a memorandum to the Commission stating
     that the Company had reportedly only relocated eight problematic
     outside meter readers and had postponed action on most other
     matters.  In addition, Mr. Brogan noted that during the summer
     the output of WESCO's single well had dropped dramatically
     requiring, first, water to be trucked in and, more recently, a
     temporary connection to the Precinct; that WESCO had not
     adequately addressed the system's pressure problems; and, that
     the Company has an ongoing history of poor customer relations and
     unwillingness to act responsibly in exercising its franchise
     obligations, requiring Staff to act to ensure continuity of
     service to customers.
       Mr. Brogan proposes that the Company either transfer
     the system to another entity by June 1, 1999, or, in the
     alternative, respond with specific proposals to address the
     unreliability of supply and system operation, improve customer
     service and responsiveness, address the outstanding commitments
     from Order 22,744 and report monthly on its progress in this
       Staff's memorandum sets forth a continued pattern of
     unresponsiveness and neglect on the part of the Company and
     raises questions about whether WESCO 1)has fulfilled its duty to
     provide safe and adequate service; 2)has failed to comply with
     Commission Orders and regulations; 3) should be subjected to
     appropriate fines and penalties; 4) should be placed in
     receivership; and, 5) should be sold to the Hooksett Village
     Precinct.   Accordingly, we will hold a hearing at which the
     Company shall be prepared to respond to the deficiencies noted
     above.  We will also address at that hearing the Company's status
     with regard to transfer of its system and issues of fines and/or
     other remedial action.
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
       ORDERED, that, pursuant to RSA 365:41, RSA 365:42, RSA
     374:17, RSA 374:28, RSA 374:47-a WESCO appear before the New
     Hampshire Public Utilities Commission at its offices at 8 Old
     Suncook Road, Concord, New Hampshire at 10:00 a.m. on        
     March 5, 1999 to respond to the deficiencies noted above, and to
     show cause why fines or other penalties should not be imposed, or
     why its authority to operate its water system in the Town of
     Hooksett should not be a matter for reconsideration; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that WESCO send a copy of this Order
     to each of its customers, the Hooksett Town Clerk, the Hooksett
     Village Precinct and the New Hampshire Department of
     Environmental Services by first class U.S. mail, on or before
     February 10, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that Commission Staff send a copy of
     Douglas Brogan's January 12, 1999 memo to WESCO, the New
     Hampshire Department of Environmental Services' Water Supply
     Division and the Hooksett Village Precinct by first class U.S.
     mail on or before February 10, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that WESCO provide the Commission by   
     March 5, 1999 an affidavit reporting that copies of this order
     have been sent to customers, the Hooksett Town Clerk, the
     Hooksett Village Precinct and the New Hampshire Department of
     Environmental Services; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that pursuant to N.H. Admin. Rules Puc
     203.01, WESCO shall notify all persons desiring to be heard at
     this hearing by publishing a copy of this Order of Notice no
     later than February 10, 1999, in a newspaper of general
     circulation in those portions of the state in which operations
     are conducted, publication to be documented by affidavit filed
     with the Commission on or before March 5, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that pursuant to N.H. Admin. Rules Puc
     203.02, any party seeking to intervene in the proceeding shall
     submit to the Commission at 8 Old Suncook Road, Concord, New
     Hampshire an original and eight copies of a Petition to Intervene
     with copies sent to WESCO and the Office of the Consumer Advocate
     on or before March 2, 1999, such Petition stating the facts
     demonstrating how its rights, duties, privileges, immunities or
     other substantial interests may be affected by the proceeding, as
     required by N.H. Admin. Rule Puc 203.02 and RSA 541-A:32,I(b);
     and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that any party objecting to a Petition
     to Intervene make said Objection on or before March 5, 1999.
       By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this first day of February, 1999.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary