The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. had the right to cancel a sellback agreement with Public Service Co. of New Hampshire and was not liable for any damages, a state superior court has ruled.

Three Massachusetts municipal utilities filed for damages after MMWEC terminated an agreement that would have allowed them to sell power from the Seabrook nuclear plant back to Public Service.

But in a July 1 decision, Judge Hiller B. Zobel of the Suffolk, Mass., Superior Court denied the claims by utilities in the towns of Danvers, Hudson, and Peabody.

MMWEC owns 11.59% of the Seabrook nuclear plant.

Public Service, formerly the lead owner of the Seabrook plant, agreed to buy back some Seabrook power from Massachusetts utilities that participated in Seabrook through MMWEC's project 6.

But in 1988, MMWEC terminated that agreement when it renegotiated the terms of its involvement in the Seabrook plant with Public Service. The three utilities filed for damages later that year.

Bruce Patten, general manager of the Peabody Municipal Light Plant, said Peabody and Hudson were considering whether to appeal the decision. Officials in Danvers could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Patten estimated the right to sell power back to Public Service was worth about $200 million to the utilities with project 6 contracts.

David Sjosten, MMWEC's general manager, said the decision on the sellback case "adds to a string of recent successes for MMWEC in the legal and financial arenas."

Last August, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the validity of MMWEC's Seabrook contracts with Massachusetts utilities. In the wake of that decision, the rating agencies reinstated MMWEC's ratings, and since then has embarked on a program to refinance its high-yield debt.

MMWEC sold $492 million of bonds in April and another $62 million in June. It plans to sell another offering later this month.

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