DR 98-135
                    NORTHERN UTILITIES, INC.
                    Integrated Resource Plan
              Order Granting Protective Treatment
                    O R D E R  N O.  23,136 
                        February 1, 1999
       On December 16, 1998, Northern Utilities, Inc.
     (Northern) filed with the New Hampshire Public Utilities
     Commission (Commission) a Motion for Confidential Treatment
     (Motion) with regard to certain information pertaining to
     Northern's forecast and supply plan which is contained in a
     letter dated December 15, 1998 from Northern's counsel to the
     Commission's Executive Director & Secretary.
       In its Motion, Northern states that the letter includes
     information which falls within the exemption from public
     disclosure of RSA 91-A:5,IV and N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 204.06
     (c)(1)(b).  Northern also states that the information constitutes
     confidential, commercial and financial information, disclosure of
     which to a current or potential supplier or competitor would
     place Northern and its customers at a disadvantage.  Northern
     further states that it does not disclose the confidential
     information to anyone outside its corporate affiliates and
       The Commission recognizes that the information
     identified above is important to the review of Northern's
     Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).  We also recognize the need for
     confidential treatment of confidential, commercial and financial
     information. The information which is the subject of this motion
     was provided to the Commission in support of Northern's request
     for a delay in the filing of its IRP.  However, the Commission,
     by Secretarial letter dated December 31, 1998, determined that
     the information for which confidential treatment was requested
     should not have precluded Northern from timely filing its IRP. 
            Nevertheless, based on the Company's
     representations regarding the information, 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 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 Confidential
     Treatment is GRANTED to allow Staff to review fully the
     confidential information and to protect from public disclosure
     the information delineated above which is relevant to the
     proceeding; and it is
         FURTHER ORDERED, that the unredacted version of 
     Northern's Counsel's letter of December 15, 1998  shall be and
     hereby is designated as Protected Material; 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 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