Johnson Utilities allegedly uncooperative with interim operator

By Mark Cowling |PinalCentral

The Arizona Corporation Commission discussed last week whether it was time to seek a contempt of court ruling against Johnson Utilities, possibly resulting in “incarceration” of managers.

“I would feel very comfortable in directing that we do an enforcement with sanctions or perhaps even incarceration by a direct violation,” Commissioner Boyd Dunn said at the Feb. 4 meeting.

The commission will hear a recommendation from its staff on Feb. 20.

EPCOR is the interim operator of Johnson Utilities by a court order issued in 2018. The issue is alleged “interference” with EPCOR by Johnson Utilities or Hunt Management, a related company whose employees do work for Johnson Utilities. EPCOR most recently complained an employee was unavailable to shut off a water main on Jan. 28.

“This caused the repair work to be delayed and prolonged and added additional costs to the project,” Jeff Stuck, EPCOR’s vice president of Arizona operations, said in a Jan. 31 memo to the ACC. Stuck continued that another Johnson employee has been “routinely” assigned to work on other Johnson properties “instead of working on utility issues. This has been an ongoing issue.”

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