Johnson Utilities 1

Operation of Johnson Utilities, above, was turned over to an interim manager, EPCOR, by the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2018.

SAN TAN VALLEY — Some customers of Johnson Utilities will need to wait a little longer to find out whether their properties can be serviced by the town of Queen Creek.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Corporation Commission voted to send a request by nine property owners to be serviced by Queen Creek for both water and wastewater services to a hearing officer for consideration. The property owners cited inefficiencies at Johnson Utilities and an unknown future for that utility.

Since August, Johnson Utilities has been managed by EPCOR Water, a temporary manager appointed by the ACC. On Tuesday, commissioners heard that Queen Creek and EPCOR officials have agreed to an interconnection agreement for water services.

Paul Gardner, utility manager for the town, said the town currently is building the infrastructure to provide water service, which at its peak will be about 5 million gallons per day for JU customers, or about half of Johnson’s daily volume.

One of two lines will be operational in mid-January, while the other is expected to be online by March, Gardner said.

However, EPCOR and Queen Creek have yet to reach an agreement on wastewater services, although town officials maintain they’ve offered the service. EPCOR, for its part, said it had offered to interconnect with wastewater services, but the utility has been reluctant. Shawn Bradford, a vice president with EPCOR, said the company is undergoing a complete wastewater master plan study before determining whether inter-connectivity is needed for wastewater services.

EPCOR, as interim manager, has said the utility needs millions of dollars in structural repairs, currently to the tune of $100 million over the next few years.

The commission also accepted a settlement between Johnson Utilities and a customer who claimed in 2016 the company violated the law in terminating water standpipe services to her. The parties agreed to a settlement that wasn’t disclosed publicly; the commission agreed to the terms.

The commission previously had said the company violated the customer’s rights by requiring a hookup to a water main as a condition of receiving potable water service.

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