From the Office of Commissioner Andy Tobin

  For Immediate Release | 8-21-18      
  Media Contact | Holly Ward      
  Direct | 602-542-3847      
  E-Mail | hward@azcc.gov

     
         
 

Commissioner Tobin calls for search and seizure on Johnson Utilities, LLC

 
 

PHOENIX — In a letter written to his Corporation Commission colleagues today, Commissioner Andy Tobin called for an emergency meeting to authorize issuing a search and seizure warrant on Johnson Utilities, LLC. The plea follows weeks of legal wrangling by the utility to avoid complying with a Corporation Commission order appointing EPCOR as an interim manager to run the company.

At an Open Meeting August 14, EPCOR's Vice President of Corporate Services Shawn Bradford testified about hazardous and potentially catastrophic environmental conditions within some of Johnson Utilities' facilities.

“When inspection results shared in public include the statement that explosions and loss of life are possible due to severe neglect, it’s time to immediately act,” said Tobin. “The potential exposure to utility employees, residents, and first responders should be immediately remedied.”

“The critical health and safety crises (EPCOR) advised us of last week go to the heart of why urgency and compliance were so imperative for the Commission from the outset,” wrote Tobin in a letter docketed today. “As a natural monopoly subject to the regulatory compact of the Arizona constitution, Johnson Utilities is and always will be subject to complete and total access by the Commission. There is no other body in the state that has this responsibility, and it is incumbent on us to exercise our duties to the public as clearly and quickly as possible during these most dire of times and circumstances.”

Johnson Utilities, LLC provides water and wastewater services in portions of Pinal and Maricopa counties. Customers have reported various troubling issues with their water service including poor water quality, low water pressure, sewage spills, and questionable billing practices.

Commissioners voted to appoint an interim manager to run the company on July 24, 2018, and a consulting agreement was finalized with EPCOR on August 1, 2018. Since that time, EPCOR reports it has not been granted access to Johnson Utilities’ financial accounts or some of its facilities.

“I implore the Commission to exercise its authority to the greatest extent conceivable – by immediately calling an emergency open meeting upon receipt of this letter and issuing the sample search and seizure warrant I have prepared and attached for your decisive action,” Tobin wrote.

Find a copy of Commissioner Tobin’s letter along with all correspondence related to the Commission’s investigation of the billing and water quality issues of Johnson Utilities, LLC. in the online docket at WS-02987A-18-0050.

Direct link to letter: http://docket.images.azcc.gov/0000191428.pdf

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About Commissioner Andy Tobin:


Commissioner Andy Tobin was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2006 and served as Speaker of the House from 2011 to 2014. He was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to fill a vacant seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2015 and elected to serve a full term in 2016. During this time, Commissioner Tobin has focused on getting broadband (internet) connections into rural Arizona schools, been instrumental in establishing the Water Emergency Team to proactively protect Arizona’s water supply, and recently introduced the Arizona Energy Modernization Plan calling for 80 percent of the state’s electricity generation to come from clean energy by 2050.

The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state’s constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The five Commissioners elected to the Corporation Commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its Commissioners, visit
www.azcc.gov