Johnson Utilities Sign

Johnson Utilities might not be in compliance with the franchise agreement it has with Pinal County.

SAN TAN VALLEY — Just in time for the holidays, some residents of Pinal County will be getting a break on their water bills starting in December.

Johnson Utilities has submitted a plan to lower its Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District adjustor charge rate in both the Phoenix and Pinal active management areas, which means lower water bills for all its customers in Pinal County.

The utility must pay the CAGRD an annual replenishment tax, based on the amount of excess groundwater it pumps. Subdivisions built after 1995 can no longer rely solely on groundwater and must be artificially replenished through recharge.

With the approval of the Arizona Corporation Commission, Johnson Utilities passes this cost on to customers.

In August Johnson Utilities explained in an article that this year the fee is artificially high. This is “to allow Johnson Utilities to collect funds it paid to the CAGRD but has not yet recovered through your monthly water bills,” the company said.

Johnson Utilities claims that the cumulative cost of under-collection from customers is slightly more than $4.4 million in the Phoenix AMA and slightly more than $461,000 in the Pinal AMA.

Effective on Dec. 1, those rates will be slashed from $4.19 to $2.35 per thousand gallons of water delivered in Phoenix AMA and from $2.43 to $1.91 in Pinal County, if approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

In Pinal County, Johnson Utilities mostly provides water in San Tan Valley and some of the outer portions of Florence.