Court rules ACC had right to name manager of Johnson Utilities

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Pinal Central

PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission has the legal right to seize managerial control of utilities that pose a risk to public health and safety, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

In a 6-1 decision, the justices rejected claims by George Johnson and family members, owners of Johnson Utilities, that there was no constitutional authority for the regulators to appoint an interim manager as it did two years ago. Justice Andrew Gould, writing for the majority, said there is specific constitutional language allowing the agency to step in “to protect the health and safety of a public service corporation’s customers, employees and the public at large.’’

Only Justice Clint Bolick said his colleagues were wrong.

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