JU update

Jeff Stuck, operations director for EPCOR Water, gives an update on the company’s interim manager agreement with Johnson Utilities to a small group Wednesday, February 27, in San Tan Valley.

SAN TAN VALLEY — A small and quiet audience gathered Wednesday to hear an update about improvements to their water and sewer service.

The gathering stood in contrast to a similar open house in October where a crowd packed the room at Central Arizona College to hear from officials of EPCOR Water, a private utility company that’s been tasked with managing the business and infrastructure of Johnson Utilities. The private company provides water and wastewater services to residents in San Tan Valley and part of Florence.

On Wednesday, Jeff Stuck, operations director for EPCOR, said EPCOR remains committed to providing customer service to existing Johnson customers while working as quickly as it can to fix myriad infrastructure problems with the water and sewer lines and plants owned by Johnson Utilities.

In August, the Arizona Corporation Commission appointed EPCOR to run the operations of JU for a three-year period. A separate agreement with the ACC tasked EPCOR with conducting an engineering assessment of all of JU’s facilities. EPCOR has said more than $100 million in upgrades is needed.

Stuck said the company would continue to make small, easily attained improvements while simultaneously tackling the bigger projects.

Neither EPCOR nor the ACC has indicated how those repairs would be paid for.

But Stuck did assure customers that the company determined JU customers are paying the correct rates for service and said a rate case review that was pending before the ACC has been withdrawn.

Pinal County Supervisor Mike Goodman, R-San Tan Valley, attended the meeting and said he’s been encouraged by the progress made by EPCOR.

Additionally, Stuck said EPCOR currently is working on a comprehensive plan of current and future Johnson Utilities infrastructure, including determining where future lines and plant would need to go to manage growth in the area. That report should be submitted to the ACC in September.

Goodman said he was “encouraged” to hear the comprehensive study will be released.

“It’s important for the community,” he added.

Stuck said EPCOR officials will give an update to the ACC on March 12.