DE 99-007
                 Granite State Electric Company
        Investigation into Retail Transmission Services
                  Prehearing Conference Order
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,175
                         March 29, 1999
       APPEARANCES:  Carlos A. Gavilondo, Esq., for Granite
     State Electric Company; James T. Rodier, Esq., pro se; Mark W.
     Dean, Esq., for New Hampshire Electric Cooperative; Susan L.
     Geiser, Esq., for Concord Electric Company and Exeter & Hampton
     Electric Company;  Michael W. Holmes, Esq., and  Kenneth E.
     Traum, Finance Director for the Office of Consumer Advocate; 
     Robert J. Frank, Esq., for the Commission Staff.
       The Commission opened this investigation in response to 
     a filing by James T. Rodier in the retail restructuring docket
     for Granite State Electric Company (GSEC), Docket DE 98-012.  The
     filing raised issues pertaining to unbundled retail transmission
     services for customers located in GSEC's service territory.  In
     an order of notice issued on January 21, 1999, the Commission
     noted that Mr. Rodier had made a similar filing in DR 96-150, and
     one issue in this case was whether to proceed with a generic
       Timely, unopposed intervention requests were filed by
     the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NHEC), Concord
     Electric Company (CEC), and Exeter & Hampton Electric Company
     (E&H).  The Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) is a statutorily
     recognized intervenor. 
       On February 4, 1999, Public Service Company of New
     Hampshire (PSNH) filed a letter urging the Commission to delay
     this proceeding until after the federal district court issues a
     decision concerning PSNH's legal claims.  PSNH's letter provided
     two reasons for this request:  first, the Commission's
     jurisdiction over retail transmission has been challenged in
     federal court; and second, the proceeding would violate the
     preliminary injunction entered by the court last year.  
       On February 9, 1999, a duly noticed prehearing
     conference was held during which the parties expressed various
     positions and views concerning the appropriate scope of this
     proceeding.  These positions are briefly described below.  
       During the prehearing conference, all of the parties
     agreed that the scope of this proceeding should be limited to
     issues relating to transmission services for GSEC's customers. 
     Mr. Rodier stated that limiting the proceeding in such a manner 
     is appropriate because GSEC is willing to work cooperatively with
     the parties.  NHEC noted that the order of notice did not make
     all of the five jurisdictional electric utilities mandatory
     parties.  CEC/E&H stated that it had no objection to this
     proceeding as long as it was limited to GSEC.  The OCA observed
     that all of the parties in this case had appeared voluntarily and
     therefore it was apparent that the Commission was not violating
     the preliminary injunction.  Staff explained that the subject of
     this investigation is different than the issues raised by PSNH in
     the federal court proceeding.  PSNH did not appear at the
     prehearing conference.
       As an initial matter, we grant both intervention
     requests without limitation.  Also, we accept the recommendation
     of the parties and will limit the scope of this proceeding to
     issues pertaining only to GSEC's customers.  Although we disagree
     with PSNH's view regarding the federal court's preliminary
     injunction, it is unnecessary to expand the proceeding beyond the
     case of GESC at this time.  Finally, we request that Staff and
     the parties submit a proposed procedural schedule by April 15,
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
       ORDERED, that this investigation shall proceed as set
     forth herein.
       By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this twenty-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