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Arizona regulators approve sale of beleaguered utility

Arizona utility regulators approved a deal for EPCOR USA to purchase the beleaguered Johnson Utilities company and for customers to pay for part of the transaction with hikes in their monthly bills.

The decision Tuesday split the Arizona Corporation Commission 3-2.

EPCOR USA, a subsidiary of a Canadian company, will purchase Johnson Utilities, which has roughly 30,000 water customers and about 40,000 wastewater customers across the state, the Arizona Republic reported. Its territory encompasses about 160 square miles of land, a size bigger than the city of Denver.

The deal would mean customers will pay about $45 million more over 15 years. According to documents filed with the commission, in the final 15th year, customers can expect to pay anywhere between $5 to $12 a month more in fees.

Johnson did not wish to disclose the sale price but the utility regulators approved an amendment to make public the sale price when the final order is created, which usually happens a few days after votes.

Johnson had issues with overflowing sewers, water shortages and noxious fumes, which caused many home builders to urge regulators to fix the company. EPCOR has been the interim manager since 2018 after state regulators voted to place them in charge.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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