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Corporation commission seeking evidence against Johnson Utilities

Posted: 7:48 PM, Mar 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-30 02:01:00Z

They've heard all your horror stories, and today after another round of emotional testimony from customers of Johnson Utilities, the members of the Arizona Corporation Commission are asking for hard evidence.

"My highest water bill living in Johnson Ranch is $283," Catherine Labranche told commissioners at Thursday's hearing. "They said I used 33,000 gallons of water in one month."

In addition to high or irregular billing and reports of unusually high water usage, the issues raised about the company include bad water quality, the smell of sewage and a long list of unresolved public health violations reported against the company, according to public documents.

RELATED: George Johnson, owner of Johnson Utilities, indicted for bribery

The commission voted to extend public comment on the case to April 14. Commissioners also asked people who have issues with Johnson Utilities to request the commission intervene on their behalf.

More than just speaking during a public comment period, those who request intervention would be subject to a process similar to a trial: they would have the ability to provide sworn testimony and documentary evidence, and opens the possibility of being cross-examined. Further details about the intervention process and how it differs from providing a public comment is available on the commission's website.

The corporation commission is continuing to gather information as it considers whether to appoint an interim manager for Johnson Utilities. If that happens, the person selected could come from outside the company.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 10 a.m. on April 16.