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

In the matter of                 )
NORTHEAST UTILITIES              )    File Number: EB-01-IH-0262
                                )    NAL/Acct. Number: 
Licensee of Various Land Mobile  )    20023208002
and Microwave Licenses           )    FCC Registration Number: 

                        FORFEITURE ORDER

   Adopted:  March 11, 2002             Released:  March 12, 2002

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                        I.   INTRODUCTION

1.   In this Forfeiture Order, we issue a monetary forfeiture  in 
the amount  of  $5,500  against Northeast  Utilities  for  having 
willfully  and   repeatedly   violated  Section   1.17   of   the 
Commission's  rules.1   The   violations  relate   to   Northeast 
Utilities'  failure  in   three  applications   filed  with   the 
Commission to properly  disclose that  it had  been convicted  of 

                         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 

5.   The  Enforcement   Bureau's  Investigations   and   Hearings 
Division subsequently conducted  an investigation into  Northeast 
Utilities' 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 
and 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 

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. 

7.   On November 7, 2001, the Chief, Investigations and  Hearings 
Division, issued a  Notice of Apparent  Liability for  Forfeiture 
(``NAL'') against Northeast Utilities.2   The NAL concluded  that 
Northeast Utilities had apparently  violated Section 1.17 of  the 
Commission's  rules  on  eight  separate  occasions  within   the 
applicable  statute  of   limitations.3   The   NAL  proposed   a 
forfeiture against Northeast Utilities in the amount of $20,000. 

8.   On December 4, 2001, Northeast Utilities filed a response to 
the NAL (``Response'').   Northeast Utilities  requests that  its 
forfeiture liability  be  reduced  from $20,000  ``to  $5,000  or 

                      III.      DISCUSSION

9.     Northeast  Utilities  does not  deny  that  it  failed  to 
timely inform  the  Commission  that it  had  been  convicted  of 
felonies, in violation of Section 1.17 of the Commission's rules.  
However, it maintains that a reduction of the proposed forfeiture 
amount is warranted because (a) the NAL overstated the number  of 
violations for which Northeast  Utilities should be held  liable; 
(b)  Northeast  Utilities  has  acted  in  good  faith  with  the 
Commission; it voluntarily disclosed its misconduct; it  promptly 
took corrective action; and it has a history of compliance before 
the  Commission;   and   (c)   the   proposed   NAL   amount   is 
disproportionate to other similarly situated cases.

                    A.  Number of Violations

10.    As noted  in paragraph 7, above,  the NAL found  Northeast 
Utilities apparently liable for eight violations of Section 1.17, 
two of which occurred in August 2001, after the date on which the 
company  had  voluntarily   disclosed  its   misconduct  to   the 
Commission.  In its Response, Northeast Utilities states that the 
failure to disclose the felony convictions in the two August 2001 
applications was purely the  result of clerical errors  committed 
by  United  Telecom   Council  (``UTC''),  Northeast   Utilities' 
frequency coordinator.  Northeast Utilities explains that it sent 
UTC draft  copies  of the  two  applications in  which  Northeast 
Utilities affirmatively represented that it had been convicted of 
the  referenced  felonies.    However,  according  to   Northeast 
Utilities, in the process of manually transferring the data  from 
the forms into the  Commission's Universal Licensing System,  UTC 
inadvertently keyed into the system that Northeast Utilities  had 
not been convicted of any  felonies.  In its Response,  Northeast 
Utilities  provides  copies   of  the   two  draft   applications 
disclosing Northeast Utilities' criminal background.

11.    We  agree with  Northeast Utilities  that the  two  August 
2001  filings  should  not  be  considered  rule  violations  for 
purposes of  assessing  a penalty  against  Northeast  Utilities.  
Based on the information before  us, Northeast Utilities did  not 
willfully omit material information in the two applications  that 
were  ultimately  filed  with   the  Commission.   Although   the 
applications unquestionably  were filed  on Northeast  Utilities' 
behalf,  there  is   no  justification  in   this  instance   for 
attributing the clerical  error that UTC  committed to  Northeast 
Utilities.  Because the forfeiture amount proposed in the NAL was 
based,  in  part,  on  the  number  of  violations  committed  by 
Northeast Utilities, we will  exclude from consideration the  two 
August 2001 applications in  assessing an appropriate  forfeiture 

12.    Northeast Utilities  also argues in  its Response that  it 
should not be held liable for violations relating to three  other 
applications which initially omitted  reference to the  felonies, 
but  were   subsequently  amended   to  disclose   the   criminal 
convictions.   According  to  Northeast  Utilities,  because  the 
applications were  amended prior  to  grant, the  Commission  was 
ultimately provided  with  ``the full  information  necessary  to 
properly process the  applications .  . .  . ''5   We agree  with 
Northeast Utilities.  In the NAL,  we stated that ``[b]y  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.''6  By  timely amending  the three  applications,  Northeast 
Utilities  cured  its  otherwise  flawed  applications,   thereby 
enabling the  Commission to  properly  make the  public  interest 
determinations required by Section 309 of the Act.  Consequently, 
we will exclude  these three applications  from consideration  in 
assessing an appropriate forfeiture amount.

    B.  Good Faith Dealings, Voluntary Disclosure, Corrective 
               Actions, and History of Compliance

13.    Northeast  Utilities  next   seeks  a  reduction  of   the 
proposed forfeiture amount because, according to the company, all 
of its dealings with the Commission  have been in good faith;  it 
voluntarily disclosed  its  misconduct  to  the  Commission  upon 
learning of the omissions;  it promptly took corrective  actions; 
and it has a  history of compliance  before the Commission.7   In 
formulating the forfeiture  amount proposed in  the NAL, we  took 
into account  Northeast  Utilities'  voluntary  disclosure.8   We 
agree, however, that a reduction for Northeast Utilities' overall 
history of  compliance is  warranted.   No further  reduction  of 
Northeast Utilities'  forfeiture liability  is warranted  because 
the  company   cooperated   with  the   Commission   during   its 
investigation  of  this   matter.   During  the   course  of   an 
investigation into a licensee's compliance with the  Commission's 
rules, we expect nothing less than full and complete cooperation.  
Finally,   Northeast   Utilities'    remedial   efforts,    while 
commendable, are  not  a  mitigating factor  and,  thus,  do  not 
warrant a reduction of the forfeiture amount.9  

                         IV.  CONCLUSION

14.    Based on the foregoing, we agree with Northeast  Utilities 
that a reduction in the  forfeiture amount from that proposed  in 
the NAL is  appropriate.  The  NAL proposed a  forfeiture in  the 
amount of  $20,000.   This amount  was  based, in  part,  on  our 
initial view that Northeast  Utilities apparently had engaged  in 
eight actionable violations of  Section 1.17 of the  Commission's 
rules.  As noted above, we now believe that Northeast  Utilities' 
liability should extend to only  three such violations.  We  also 
believe a reduction  is appropriate  for its  history of  overall 
compliance. For  the  reasons  discussed  above,  we  believe  no 
factors exist  beyond those  already considered  in the  NAL  for 
further reducing  the amount  of the  forfeiture.  Based  on  the 
totality of  the  information  before  us,  we  conclude  that  a 
forfeiture in the total amount of $5,500 is appropriate.10

                      V.   ORDERING CLAUSES

15.  Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to section 47 U.S.C.   
503(b) and  Section 47  C.F.R.   0.111, 0.311,  and 1.80,  that 
Northeast Utilities IS  LIABLE FOR A  MONETARY FORFEITURE in  the 
amount of  five  thousand,  five  hundred  dollars  ($5,500)  for 
willfully and repeatedly violating 47 C.F.R.  1.17.

16.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that payment of this forfeiture shall 
be made in the manner provided for in 47 C.F.R.  1.80 within  30 
days of the release of this Forfeiture Order.  If the  forfeiture 
is not paid within the period specified, the case may be referred 
to the Department of Justice for collection pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 
 504(a).  Payment may  be made to  the Commission's Revenue  and 
Receivables Operations  Group  by  mailing  a  check  or  similar 
instrument, payable to  the order of  the Federal  Communications 
Commission, to the  Federal Communications  Commission, P.O.  Box 
73482, Chicago, Illinois  60673-7482. The  payment SHALL  INCLUDE 
the FCC Registration Number  and the NAL/Acct. Number  referenced 

17.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Forfeiture  Order 
SHALL BE SENT by  Certified Mail -  Return Receipt Requested  to: 
Daniel P. Venora, Associate General Counsel, Northeast  Utilities 
System, 107 Seldon Street, Berlin, CT  06037.

                              FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

                              David H. Solomon
                              Chief, Enforcement Bureau

1  47 C.F.R.  1.17.
2  Notice  of  Apparent  Liability  for  Forfeiture,  DA  01-2591 
(Invest. and Hear. Div., Enf. Bur., rel. Nov. 7, 2001) 
3  47 U.S.C.  503(b)(6)(B).
4  Response, p. 1.
5  Response, p. 7.
6  NAL, p. 7.
7  Response, pp. 6 - 9.
8  NAL, p. 3.
9  See Palouse Country, Inc.,  DA 02-03 (Enf. Bur., rel.  January 
4, 2002), citing, American InfoAge,  LLC, 16 FCC Rcd 16185  (Enf. 
Bur. 2001).
10  In  light  of   the  revised  forfeiture  amount,   Northeast 
Utilities' argument  relating  to  the  relative  amount  of  the 
forfeiture vis--vis  the $8,000  forfeiture in  Curators of  the 
University of  Missouri,  16  FCC  Rcd  1174,  1181  (2001),   is 
rendered moot.