By Joey Chenoweth | San Tan Valley Sentinel
New hook-ups to the Johnson Utilities water system will cost more than three times as much as current rates should regulators approve an application for an increase.
EPCOR Water, the interim manager for the embattled Pinal County utility, sent an application to the Arizona Corporation Commission requesting a significant increase in hook-up fee tariffs. The increase is needed, EPCOR says, to fulfill its capital plan to improve the Johnson Utilities system.
The ACC, when approving EPCOR’s capital improvement plan in July, asked the company to follow up with a plan on how to pay for it. In its application, EPCOR states these will be the only fee increases and are intended to minimize the need to increase rates for customers.
“While this increase in hook-up fees was not unexpected, the amount of the increase is certainly significant. The irony is that many homes that end up paying this fee would have been built a year ago and would have paid the lower fee if not for problems with the water and sewer system that led to the moratorium in the first place. The Corporation Commission needs to approve any fee increase and will no doubt consider alternatives to these charges including whether or not phasing in the fee increase over time might be more equitable.”