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SAN TAN VALLEY (AP) — EPCOR USA has reached an agreement to buy the embattled Johnson Utilities water and wastewater company known for its history of sewer overflows and water issues in Pinal County.

EPCOR USA, which owns smaller water companies statewide, is now managing Johnson Utilities despite protests in 2018 from regulators who had enough of Johnson's history of service issues, The Arizona Republic reported.

Johnson Utilities has unsuccessfully challenged the takeover in multiple courts and eventually agreed to sell to the company that it fought to keep from controlling it.

The companies have now asked the Arizona Corporation Commission in a Monday filing to state regulators to approve the deal by the end of the year.

The price of the deal was not disclosed, but the filing said the companies are seeking an “acquisition premium” of $63.2 million for the Johnson system. An acquisition premium is the difference between the estimated real value of a company and the actual price paid to acquire it.

EPCOR USA President Joe Gysel said service is now enhanced for these customers.

“Bringing this service area and these customers into EPCOR will start a new chapter for these communities focused on safety, reliability and service," he said.

Johnson Utilities has about 30,000 water and about 40,000 wastewater customers in the Florence, Queen Creek and San Tan Valley areas, about 160 square miles (415 square kilometers).

EPCOR USA is one of the operating companies owned by Alberta, Canada-based EPCOR. It has operations in 39 communities in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Most of its 670,000 customers are in Arizona.

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