East Valley residents fed up with Johnson Utilities

SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ - More complaints are coming into the ABC15 newsroom from East valley residents complaining about their utility company. This time, it's about water being turned off with no notice.

A spokesman with Johnson Utilities says water is only turned off when customers don't pay their bills, and only after several notices are provided to these customers.

Those who contacted us disputed that saying they paid their bills on time; some said they received no disconnect notice from the company.

Megan Dear was surprised to find out she owed the company money when she called to pay her monthly bill on May 18, several days before the deadline. She says a customer service representative informed her that her service would be disconnected that day.

Dear said she told the customer service agent that she would pay whatever was required to keep the taps on, even though she was not aware of any past due balance, or had not received any disconnect notices.

The customer service agent informed her a notice was sent out earlier in the month. Dear offered to take care of the matter and figure out the problem later.

"She refused to take my payment.   was shocked, she wouldn't take my payment," said Dear.

After three more phone calls, speaking to different customer serve agents and several hours, Dear said she was finally able to make the payment, but they still shut her water off. That prompted more frustrated phone calls. 

Johnson Utilities finally turned her water back on that same day and offered to waive the disconnect fee, which Dear had to pay.

"It's just one thing after another with this company," said Dear.

She said she was one of the several people who was considering leaving San Tan Valley and moving to another community just to get away from Johnson Utilities.

ABC15 took these concerns to the state agency in charge of overseeing utility companies.

Angie Holdsworth said the ACC did not have a lot of complaints against Johnson Utilities.

"We are actually able to resolve a lot of issues before they actually become into mediation or a formal complaint," said Holdsworth.

Many who filed complaints about the water quality, pressure or billing disputes typically had the problems solved within days.

Holdsworth said they had investigators looking into every complaint that came in and contacted the utility company for a response. In most cases, the utility company had already taken care of the issue. If a customer was still not satisfied, the next step was a mediation, and finally a formal complaint, which would go before ACC commissioners.

Holdsworth said in order for the state agency to take action against any utility company they had to have a pattern of complaints showing the company was not able to fulfill their job or provide service to the community.

Action could include penalties and in some cases an interim manager assigned to work at the utility company.

"No complaint we have received so far has violated an ACC requirement," said Holdsworth.

She added that sometimes people may file complaints with county officials or elected officials, but that did not mean they were being reported to the ACC.

To file a complaint against any utility company overseen by the ACC you can go to their website www.acc.gov.  Click on "Utilities Division" to access the complaint form.

ABC15 has a request into Johnson Utilities to talk to them about all of these problems in the San Tan Valley community. 

A spokesman says he will pass on our request to appropriate people.

 

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