Customers at odds with indicted utility owner for years

By Katie Campbell | Arizona Capitol Timeaa

The name George Johnson has gained statewide notoriety in the last year, but his reputation precedes him in Pinal County.

That has been evident in recent weeks as hundreds of county residents have made their voices heard in special meetings for the Arizona Corporation Commission to consider installing an interim manager of Johnson’s utility company that bears his name.

Supervisor Goodman said he’s tired of being a “customer service rep” for Johnson.

The commission’s move is typically reserved for companies with ongoing or significant problems the commission doesn’t believe will be addressed without its intervention, but it comes as no surprise to the people of Pinal County who have seen Johnson as a utility-owning bogeyman for years.

Johnson was indicted in May on federal charges for his part in an alleged bribery scheme, and his problems are mounting as the Pinal County Board of Supervisors voted April 4 to intervene in the commission’s case to take over management of the company.

During the special meetings held in San Tan Valley, residents let commission know of inexplicably high water bills and the smell of sewage permeating their homes.

Pinal County Supervisor Mike Goodman, whose district is home to thousands of Johnson’s customers, recalled one elderly couple in particular.

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