DR 98-134
                 EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc.
                    Integrated Resource Plan
              Order Approving Procedural Schedule
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,157
                         March 9, 1999
       APPEARANCES:  McLane, Graf, Raulerson and Middleton by
     Steven V. Camerino, Esq. for EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc. and
     Michelle A. Caraway for the Staff of the New Hampshire Public
     Utilities Commission.
               On June 11, 1998, Northern Utilities, Inc. (Northern)
     filed a request with the New Hampshire Public Utilities
     Commission (Commission) to modify the filing dates, filing
     guidelines and review process of the Integrated Resource Plans
     (IRP) for each natural gas local distribution company (LDC) in
     New Hampshire.  Northern stated its belief that the IRP filing
     guidelines for LDCs and the review process can be improved
     through a more informal and streamlined approach which is more in
     line with the state of the industry today.  The IRP filings would
     be filed by November 30, 1998.
               After an informal technical session with Northern and
     EnergyNorth Natural Gas, Inc. (ENGI), Commission Staff (Staff)
     recommended in a memo dated June 26, 1998 that the Commission
     adopt Northern's requested changes to the IRP process and apply
     the changes to both Northern and ENGI.  Staff believed that the
     IRP process can be efficiently addressed through a coordination
     of efforts between Northern's and ENGI's dockets and recommended
     that all changes to the IRP process apply to both LDCs.     
               In its June 26, 1998 memo, Staff stated that some other
     party might be interested in the IRP filings as well as the
     format in which they would be filed with the Commission.  To
     address this concern, Staff recommended that other interested
     parties should be identified early in the process so that any
     suggested modifications could be reviewed and incorporated into
     the IRP filings, as appropriate.  
               By Orders of Notice issued on July 22, 1998 in this
     proceeding and in Northern's IRP docket (DR 98-135), the
     Commission scheduled Prehearing Conferences for August 20, 1998,
     set deadlines for intervention requests and objections thereto,
     and scheduled a joint technical session to immediately follow the
     Prehearing Conferences.  No party filed for intervention.  The
     Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA) is a statutorily recognized
     intervenor.  Due to Northern's failure to properly notice the
     Prehearing Conference, on August 20, 1998, the Commission
     reissued the Order of Notice for Northern and rescheduled the
     Prehearing Conference to September 10, 1998.  Also on August 20,
     1998, the Commission issued a secretarial letter to ENGI
     rescheduling its Prehearing Conference to September 10, 1998.
               Subsequently, the Prehearing Conferences were held on
     September 10, 1998 and were followed by a brief joint technical
     session.  At the technical session, Northern, ENGI and Staff
     discussed whether the LDCs needed to file avoided cost studies as
     part of their IRP filings.  The LDCs and Staff agreed that if the
     LDCs were to continue their demand-side management (DSM) programs
     into the 1999/2000 program year, then avoided cost studies must
     be filed within their respective IRPs so that the DSM programs
     could be properly screened for cost-effectiveness. 
               On September 23, 1998, Staff filed a memo stating that
     there were no intervenors in either LDC's proceeding and
     recommending that the Commission approve the review process
     agreed to by Northern, ENGI and Staff.  On October 12, 1998, the
     Commission determined that Northern's underlying request for
     revising the IRP filing process was reasonable and that it should
     be applied to both LDCs.  The LDCs were required to make their
     filings by November 30, 1998 but the filings need not include
     avoided cost studies.  Through Order No. 23,047 (October 27,
     1998) and Order No. 23,068 (November 23, 1998) addressing ENGI's
     and Northern's 1998/1999 DSM Program filings, respectively, the
     Commission stated that should the LDCs decide to continue the DSM
     programs into the 1999/2000 program year, then avoided cost
     studies must be filed in their respective IRP dockets by May 15,
               On November 30, 1998, ENGI filed its IRP with the
     Commission.  On March 2, 1999, ENGI filed a letter with the
     Commission stating that as set forth in the stipulation in its
     last DSM Program docket (DR 98-129), ENGI does not currently plan
     to seek authority to continue its ongoing DSM Program beyond
     expiration of the current program year.  ENGI plans to await the
     outcome of discussions of the Energy Efficiency Working Group in
     docket DR 96-150 and the gas unbundling docket (DR 98-124) and
     then consider whether a new DSM Program is appropriate. 
     Therefore, ENGI stated that it does not anticipate filing a new
     avoided cost study with the Commission prior to May 15, 1999.
               On March 4, 1999, Staff filed a recommendation with the
     Commission proposing a procedural schedule to govern the
     proceeding.  Staff recommended that consistent with the IRP
     review process proposed by Northern and approved by the
     Commission, the procedural schedule will consist of discovery and
     technical sessions, with a hearing before the Commission.  The
     proposed procedural schedule is as follows:
               Data Requests                            March 17, 1999
               Technical Session                        March 26, 1999
               Data Requests                             April 6, 1999
               Technical Session                        April 19, 1999
               Hearing                                    June 9, 1999
     Staff noted that should additional discovery or Staff testimony
     be necessary, the procedural schedule will be subsequently
     modified to ensure that a complete record is developed for the
     Commission.  Staff stated in its memo that it sought and obtained
     the concurrence of both ENGI and the OCA for the above delineated
     procedural schedule.
               We find the proposed procedural schedule to be
     reasonable and will, therefore, approve it for the duration of
     the proceeding.  We note that the decision not to file an avoided
     cost study at this time will likely result in a hiatus in DSM
     offerings from this company.  Both the Energy Efficiency Working
     Group and the Gas Unbundling Collaborative are expected to file
     reports with the Commission this spring or early summer.  The
     Commission plans to move ahead to resolve outstanding DSM issues
     relative to the natural gas industry expeditiously thereafter. 
     Accordingly, we accept Energynorth's decision not to make an
     avoided cost filing at this time.
               Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby 
               ORDERED, that the procedural schedule delineated above
     is APPROVED.
               By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this ninth day of March, 1999.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary