DE 97-003
         Greenfield Hill Estates Homeowners Association
             Request for Exemption from Regulation
Order NISI Granting Exemption from Regulation as a Public Utility
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,183
                         March 30, 1999
       The Petitioner, Greenfield Hill Estates Homeowners
     Association (Association), filed a petition on February 18, 1999
     requesting exemption of its water system located in Plaistow, New
     Hampshire from regulation as a public water utility.  The docket
     was originally opened in January 1997 as the result of an earlier
     exemption request by the developer of Greenfield Hill Estates,
     Richard P. Early, Sr.  The primary need for exemption has been
     created, both then and now, by the existence of a single
     non-paying customer who is also, by choice, the only non-member
     of the Association.  While about 30 of the 43 lots in the
     development were built out as of early 1997, all 43 lots have now
     been sold and 40 of them developed.  All but one of the 40 are
     served by the water system, with the remaining lot served by a
     private well due to its location.  At least two of the three
     undeveloped lots are owned by adjacent lot owners and may be
     retained in an undeveloped state indefinitely.
       The petition reveals the following information: 
     Subsequent to the original filing in 1997, control of the
     Association and ownership of the water system both passed to the
     homeowners.  The Association contacted several entities about
     possible sale of the system, but ultimately voted in November
     1998 to retain system ownership.  It anticipates continuing to
     contract with a third party for system operation and maintenance.
       The Association has invested significant time and
     thought in developing rates, fees and customer service rules, all
     included in its petition and all of which would apply equally to
     both member and non-member customers.  Applicable portions have
     been approved by vote of the Association and/or its Board of
     Directors.  Rates and fees will be presented annually to
     homeowners at the Association's annual meeting.  The Association
     will establish and maintain a separate set of accounts for the
     water system.  
       Commission Staff has reviewed the Association's By-Laws
     and Declaration of Covenants, and has confirmed with the
     Department of Environmental Services that there are no
     outstanding reporting, monitoring, enforcement or other
     violations or significant deficiencies for the water system at
     this time.
       RSA 362:4,I allows exemption if "the whole of such
     water ... system shall supply a less number of consumers than 10,
     each family, tenement, store or other establishment being
     considered a single consumer, ... whenever the commission may
     find such exemption consistent with the public good."  Treatment
     of the Association as a single consumer providing service to
     itself and not the public is reasonable and consistent with past
     treatment of similar situations.  Re North Country Water Supply,
     Inc, 80 NH PUC 380 (1995).  See also Re Belleau Lake Corporation
     80 NH PUC 49 (1995).  Thus the Association and the single
     non-member customer would comprise the current total of two
     system consumers for purposes of the statute.  The proposed
     conditions of exemption would allow enforcement action, after due
     notice, against any non-paying customers.  
       The burden of compliance with ratemaking, tariff
     filing, reporting, accounting and other requirements under
     regulation would far exceed any corresponding benefit to
     customers in this case.  In light of all of the above factors, we
     find the requested exemption to be in the public good.
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby 
       ORDERED NISI, that Greenfield Hill Estates Homeowners
     Association is exempted from the provisions of RSA Title XXXIV in
     accordance with RSA 362:4,I; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that the Petitioner shall mail a copy
     of this order by first class mail, or hand-deliver same, to each
     customer on or before April 6, 1999, to be documented by
     affidavit filed with this office no later than April 13, 1999;
     and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that all persons interested in
     responding to this petition be notified that they may submit
     their comments or file a written request for a hearing on this
     matter before the Commission no later than April 16, 1999; and it
       FURTHER ORDERED, that any party interested in
     responding to such comments or request for hearing shall do so no
     later than April 23, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order Nisi shall be
     effective May 3, 1999, unless the Commission provides otherwise
     in a supplemental order issued prior to the effective date.
       By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this thirtieth day of March, 1999.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary