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                         Before the
              Federal Communications Commission
                   Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                  )
                                 )
NORTHEAST UTILITIES               )   File No. EB-01-IH-0262
                                 )   NAL/Acct. No. 20023208002
Licensee of Various Land Mobile   )
and Microwave Stations            )



         NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

     Adopted:  November 6, 2001                   Released: 
November 7, 2001    

By the Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, 
Enforcement Bureau:

                      I.  Introduction

1.   In this Notice of  Apparent Liability for Forfeiture we 
find that Northeast Utilities failed to disclose in multiple 
applications  filed with  the  Commission that  it had  been 
convicted  of felonies,  in  apparent  willful and  repeated 
violation  of Section  1.17  of the  Commission's rules,  47 
C.F.R.  1.17.  We conclude that that Northeast Utilities is 
apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of $20,000.  

                       II.  Background

2.   On  September  27,  1999, Northeast  Utilities  Service 
Company, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, pleaded guilty 
to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act.  On the same 
day, Northeast Nuclear Energy Company, another subsidiary of 
Northeast  Utilities,   pleaded  guilty  to  19   counts  of 
violating  the Atomic  Energy  Act by  submitting false  and 
inaccurate  operator  license  applications to  the  Nuclear 
Regulatory  Commission. Each  company was  ordered to  pay a 
$3.35 million  fine and  was placed  on probation  for three 
years.  Each offense constituted a felony.

3.   Between  September 28,  1999,  and  November 27,  2000, 
Northeast   Utilities,  either   directly  or   through  its 
subsidiaries,  filed more  than  128  applications with  the 
Commission  for   various  purposes.   Each  of   the  forms 
specifically inquired  whether the applicant, or  any entity 
with a controlling interest in  the applicant, had ever been 
convicted  of a  felony.   In each  instance, the  applicant 
responded in the negative.

4.   On  November  28,  2000,  Northeast  Utilities  Service 
Company  filed  an  application  on FCC  Form  603,  seeking 
Commission  consent to  the transfer  of control  of certain 
authorizations to  another entity.  In that  application, it 
disclosed  to  the  Commission   for  the  first  time  that 
Northeast  Utilities  had  been convicted  of  the  felonies 
described above.  Northeast Utilities thereafter amended its 
previously-filed  applications which  were still  pending in 
order, albeit  belatedly, to  provide information  about the 
convictions. 


5.   The  Enforcement  Bureau's  Investigations  &  Hearings 
Division  subsequently   conducted  an   investigation  into 
Northeast Utilities'  apparent failure to  properly disclose 
the company's criminal background in applications filed with 
the Commission.  In a May 15,  2001, response to a letter of 
inquiry  from   the  Investigations  &   Hearings  Division, 
Northeast Utilities explained: 

     [Northeast  Utilities]  answered in  the  negative 
     [regarding whether it had ever been convicted of a 
     felony] as there was  a misunderstanding as to the 
     fact  that these  were indeed  felony convictions.  
     The  [Northeast  Utilities] personnel  responsible 
     for  the  licensing  were  aware  that  [Northeast 
     Utilities] plead ``guilty  to violations'' but did 
     not  understand  that  this was  classified  as  a 
     criminal  ``felony''.   It  was  never  [Northeast 
     Utilities'] intent to misrepresent this conviction 
     and as soon as [Northeast Utilities'] staff became 
     aware of this error,  they worked with counsel and 
     staff at [Northeast  Utilities' communications law 
     firm] to correct  all outstanding applications and 
     to identify  the process  to attach  the necessary 
     notification to all applications going forward.

6.   Notwithstanding  Northeast   Utilities'  disclosure  on 
November 28,  2000, Northeast Utilities Service  Company, in 
August  2001, filed  two  additional  applications with  the 
Commission.   In   each  application,   Northeast  Utilities 
Service Company responded in the negative when asked whether 
it had been convicted of a felony.
 
                    III.      Discussion

7.   Section  1.17 of  the Commission's  rules, 47  C.F.R.  
1.17,  states in  pertinent part  that "No  applicant .  . . 
shall . .  . in any application, pleading, or  report or any 
other written  statement submitted  to the  Commission, make 
any .  . . willful  material omission bearing on  any matter 
within  the jurisdiction  of  the  Commission."  A  "willful 
material omission" need  not be accompanied by  an intent to 
deceive. Curators of the University  of Missouri, 16 FCC Rcd 
1174,   1181  (2001)   (recon.   pending),1  citing   Abacus 
Broadcasting Corp., 8 FCC Rcd 5110, 5115 (Rev. Bd. 1993).

8.   Northeast Utilities disclosed its felony convictions to 
the Commission in  a filing on November 28,  2000.  Prior to 
that date, however, Northeast  Utilities filed more than 128 
applications in which it failed to disclose the convictions. 
Of the 128 applications, six were filed within the last year 
and are, thus, actionable  under Section 503(b)(6)(B) of the 
Communications  Act  of  1934,   as  amended,  47  U.S.C.   
503(b)(6)(B).    Northeast   Utilities    also   filed   two 
applications  after November  28,  2000, in  which it  again 
erroneously responded in the  negative when asked whether it 
had been  convicted of a  felony.  Each of  the applications 
was filed on  behalf of Northeast Utilities  or a subsidiary 
by  an authorized  company individual  who certified  to the 
truthfulness,   correctness,   and   completeness   of   the 
information  therein.   While  the   company  may  not  have 
intended to  mislead the Commission, under  the Commission's 
precedent  in the  Curators  of the  University of  Missouri 
case,   Northeast  Utilities   willfully  omitted   material 
information  in  multiple  filings   by  certifying  in  the 
negative  that it  had not  been convicted  of a  felony. By 
failing to  disclose its criminal background  in the various 
applications, Northeast Utilities  essentially prevented the 
Commission  from  carrying  out  its  statutory  obligations 
contained in Section 309 of  the Communications Act of 1934, 
as  amended, 47  C.F.R.   309.   Section  309 requires  the 
Commission,  in the  case  of each  application,  to make  a 
public interest determination as  to whether the application 
should  be   granted.   Furthermore,   Northeast  Utilities' 
failure  to inform  the  Commission of  its felony  criminal 
convictions frustrated  the efficient administration  of the 
Commission's processes. In order  to carry out its business, 
the Commission, by necessity, must  rely on the accuracy and 
completeness of  the information provided by  those who come 
before  it.  Northeast  Utilities  failed to  carry out  its 
obligations in this regard.  

9.   Based  on   the  foregoing,  we  find   that  Northeast 
Utilities  apparently  willfully  and repeatedly  (on  eight 
separate  occasions  within  the  statute  of  limitations), 
violated Section 1.17 of the Commission's rules. Under these 
circumstances,   we   take   into   account   "the   nature, 
circumstances,  extent, and  gravity of  the violation  and, 
with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any 
history of  prior offenses, ability  to pay, and  such other 
matters as  justice may  require." Section 503(b)(2)  of the 
Communications  Act  of  1934,   as  amended,  47  C.F.R.   
503(b)(2).  In the  Curators of  the University  of Missouri 
case  cited   above,  the  Commission  proposed   an  $8,000 
forfeiture  for an  analogous  willful omission  in both  an 
application and  a response to  the staff.  Here,  there are 
more violations, but disclosure  was voluntary.  On balance, 
we conclude that  a proposed forfeiture in  the total amount 
of $20,000 is appropriate  for the eight apparent violations 
involved here. 

                    IV.  Ordering Clauses

10.  Accordingly, IT  IS ORDERED  that, pursuant  to Section 
503(b) of  the Communications  Act of  1934, as  amended, 47 
U.S.C.  503(b), and Section 1.80 of the Commission's rules, 
47 C.F.R.   1.80, Northeast Utilities  IS APPARENTLY LIABLE 
FOR A  FORFEITURE in the  amount of $20,000,  for apparently 
willfully  and  repeatedly  violating Section  1.17  of  the 
Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R.  1.17.

11.  IT IS  FURTHER ORDERED  that, pursuant  to 47  C.F.R.  
1.80,  within  30-days of  the  release  of this  NOTICE  OF 
APPARENT LIABILITY,  Northeast Utilities SHALL PAY  the full 
amount of the  proposed forfeiture2 or SHALL  FILE a written 
response seeking  reduction or cancellation of  the proposed 
forfeiture.3  

12.  IT IS  FURTHER ORDERED  that a copy  of this  Notice of 
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture shall be sent by  Certified Mail - Return Receipt 
Requested, to  Cristi Walker, Counsel,  Northeast Utilities, 
107 Selden Street, Berlin CT  06037.


                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION





                         Charles W. Kelley
                         Chief, Investigations  and Hearings 
Division
                         Enforcement Bureau
_________________________

1 This case involved an apparent violation of Section 
73.1015, 47 C.F.R.  73.1015.  Section 73.1015 and Section 
1.17 contain identical language prohibiting the making of a 
``willful material omission'' in an application filed with 
the Commission.

2 Payment of the forfeiture shall be made by mailing a check 
or similar instrument, payable to the order of the ``Federal 
Communications Commission,'' to the Forfeiture Collection 
Section, Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, 
P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois  60673-7482.  The payment 
shall note the NAL/Acct. No. referenced above.  

3 The response, if any, shall be directed to Charles W. 
Kelley, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, 
Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 
12th Street, SW, Room 3-B443, Washington DC  20554.  The 
response shall note the File No. and NAL/Acct No. referenced 
above. The Commission will not consider reducing or 
canceling a forfeiture in response to a claim of inability 
to pay unless the respondent submits:  (1) federal tax 
returns for the most recent three-year period; (2) financial 
statements prepared according to generally accepted 
accounting practices (GAAP); or (3) some other reliable and 
objective documentation that accurately reflects the 
respondent's current financial status.  Any claim of 
inability to pay must specifically identify the basis for 
the claim by reference to the financial documentation 
submitted.  Requests for payment of the full amount of this 
Notice of Apparent Liability under an installment plan shall 
be directed to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations 
Group, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC  20554.  See 47 
C.F.R.  1.1914.