FLORENCE — The Pinal County Board of Supervisors has decided to file a motion to intervene in the Johnson Utilities rate-hike case before the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Johnson Utilities has applied for a permanent 23.6 percent increase in fees for water service, and a 17.6 increase for wastewater service.
Johnson Utilities increased the fees during a test year that ended on June 30 and is now trying to make the increase permanent. According to filings with the ACC, Johnson Utilities lost money over the year ending June 30, $2.6 million in the water division and more than $3 million in the wastewater operations.
“If we file a motion and are granted the ability to intervene, we get to review everything. I mean everything,” Supervisor Mike Goodman said. “It allows us to really get into the nitty gritty of all this.”
Pinal County will also have the option of arguing in front of the ACC as part of the case.
“Whether we decide to interject our position on something, we don’t know until we start getting information. It does gives us the authority to participate,” Supervisor Steve Miller said.
“It’s kind of a wait and see, we wanna see what kind of information starts showing up.”
The rate case follows a bribery indictment involving the former corporation commission chairman Gary Pierce and utility owner George Johnson. Johnson allegedly tried to bribe Pierce in exchange for favorable votes for the utility.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has begun investigating the Johnson Utilities plant off Hunt Highway in response to a high volume of complaints of odors coming from the plant.
The hearings will be spread out over two days. On Feb. 20, sessions will be held from 8 to 10 a.m., noon to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at County Supervisor Mike Goodman’s San Tan office, 33622 N. Mountain Vista Blvd. On Feb. 21, the sessions will be held at the same times but will be at Central Arizona College’s San Tan Campus, 3736 E. Bella Vista Road, Rooms A100 and A101.