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SAN TAN VALLEY — New hook-ups to the Johnson Utilities water system will cost more than three times as much as current rates should regulators approve an application for an increase.

EPCOR Water, the interim manager for the embattled Pinal County utility, sent an application to the Arizona Corporation Commission requesting a significant increase in hook-up fee tariffs. The increase is needed, EPCOR says, to fulfill its capital plan to improve the Johnson Utilities system.

The ACC, when approving EPCOR’s capital improvement plan in July, asked the company to follow up with a plan on how to pay for it. In its application, EPCOR states these will be the only fee increases and are intended to minimize the need to increase rates for customers.

“Based on its review of the needs for the Johnson water and wastewater systems to accommodate for additional growth, and based on its review of comparable hook-up and equivalent fees in the general area, EPCOR … believes that increases to certain HUFs are warranted in order for growth to adequately fund additional off-site facilities and to mitigate future rate relief to Johnson’s existing customers,” the application reads.

The current fee structure was approved in September 2011. EPCOR’s proposed structure is based off meter size. The typical home uses meters from 5/8 of an inch to an inch.

With current rates, new hook-ups for that size cost $750, $900 or $1,500. The proposed fees increase those numbers to $2,800 for 5/8- or ¾-inch meters and $7,000 for 1-inch meters. The fees are then increased by thousands of dollars for each additional inch, with the maximum being $322,000 for a 10-inch meter.

EPCOR is also proposing to completely revamp its wastewater hook-up fees. Currently, there is only a fee for meters 4 inches or greater, with fees ranging from $1,000 to $4,000. EPCOR proposes that all sizes will also have a wastewater hook-up fee.

For 5/8- or 3/4-inch meters that fee would be $3,900, then $9,750 for 1-inch meters and so on until the maximum $448,000 for 10-inch or greater meters.

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