From the Office of Commissioner Andy Tobin

  For Immediate Release | 5-3-18      
  Media Contact | Holly Ward      
  Direct | 602-542-3847      
  E-Mail | hward@azcc.gov      
         
 
Corporation Commissioner Seeks Financial Data of Regulated Utility
 
 

PHOENIX — In a letter to the Corporation Commission’s online docket today, Commissioner Andy Tobin expressed his concern with a series of roadblocks to his requests for transparent information from a regulated monopoly.

The Corporation Commission is in its third week of evidentiary hearings related to allegations of billing, water, and wastewater quality issues at Johnson Utilities, LLC. The water and wastewater utility company services 25,600 water and 35,000 wastewater customers in Pinal and Maricopa counties.

Commissioner Tobin’s letter outlines numerous attempts to obtain records from Johnson Utilities, LLC, in connection with those hearings. Tobin details how he issued a subpoena to the utility, initially on March 8, seeking correspondence between Johnson Utilities and the Town of Queen Creek.

He also issued a public records request to the Town of Queen Creek, seeking correspondence between Johnson Utilities and the Town of Queen Creek detailing their discussions of a potential sale of the water company.

Tobin’s letter explains as the Town of Queen Creek began delivering documents to the Commission in response to his public records request, Johnson Utilities sued the Town of Queen Creek, filed an Application for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the Town of Queen Creek from releasing additional documents, and obtained a court order setting an initial hearing in Superior Court. Tobin’s letter further details how a Superior Court judge temporarily upheld the restraining order and effectively halted any further records coming to the Commission.

“Johnson Utilities has thwarted our efforts for transparency during these hearings,” said Commissioner Tobin. “It makes you wonder, what are they trying to hide?”

Commissioner Tobin’s letter outlines the path these records requests have progressed through the Arizona court system, ending with the Court of Appeals granting a further stay. “In other words, there is no end in sight as to when I will finally obtain access to these public records which the Town of Queen Creek does not object to producing,” Tobin writes.

Commissioner Tobin pressed forward with urgency stating the delay of the Johnson Utility proceedings will potentially present life safety issues to the citizens of Pinal County as witnesses testify about sanitary sewer overflows, excessive odors from hydrogen sulfide levels, and the inability to account for millions of dollars leaving the company on a monthly basis.

“We need to ensure all parties are afforded due process. That includes the utility, staff, intervenors, and customers of Johnson Utilities,” said Tobin. “These records are important to that process.”

Find a copy of Commissioner Tobin’s letter in the online docket WS-02987A-18-0050 at http://edocket.azcc.gov.

Watch the Johnson Utilities hearings live and view previous testimony in the archives at www.azcc.gov/live.

 

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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