Community Meeting Recap
EPCOR held an informational community meeting February 27 at the Central Arizona College San Tan Campus, giving a detailed look at improvements made in the last six months, what’s currently underway, and priorities for the rest of 2019. A video recording of that presentation is available here. After the discussion, EPCOR team members and Johnson Utilities customer service representative were on hand for an informal Q and A session.
We want to thank Johnson Utilities customers who came out for the meeting. We value your input and questions as we continue our work to improve operations and infrastructure at Johnson Utilities.
Water Supply Progress
We’re working hard on several fronts to ensure adequate water supplies heading into the warm part of the year.
We’re testing the pumps at several wells within the system that aren’t currently in service, and we expect to have one of these – San Tan Well #1 – ready to begin production by the end of March. The water at the well has been tested, the necessary pump will soon be in place, and we’re in the final stages of securing access easements from the San Tan Heights Homeowners Association. We’re also coordinating with Fulton Homes to complete two wells and additional storage in the Promenade development by May 2020.
While we’re talking about water supply, we’d like to remind customers that water conservation is always a good idea in a dry state like Arizona.
We’ve finished installing the water line for the reverse osmosis (RO) treatment system at Morning Sun Farms. The RO unit is on site and will be operational by the end of March. An RO unit is also operational at Johnson Ranch. Work is also underway to install the ion exchange (IX) treatment system that will treat three wells that deliver water to the Main Yard water treatment plant.
Electrical System Improvements
We’ve begun an overhaul of the electrical panels throughout the Johnson system to avoid electrical-related service interruptions. This is a three-year project to upgrade all panels and repair those that need it, with current priorities at the Magma and Main Yard lift stations.
Since last fall we’ve made considerable progress correcting short-term water pressure concerns. We continue to work on these immediate issues while developing long-term water pressure solutions.
In the portion of the system between the Magma and Ricky well sites and Oasis subdivision, we’ve installed a pressure-reducing valve in order to address water quality and pressure issues for Oasis customers. This work should be finished by the end of March, and we expect that it will allow us to remove meter management restrictions in Region 4.
If you’re experiencing water pressure issues, we’d like to hear from you. Please share concerns with Johnson Utilities’ customer care along with your address, so we can find and resolve these more quickly.
In our ongoing work to improve the Johnson Utilities wastewater system as a whole, we’re looking at both treatment plants and the network of collection lines that collect and transport wastewater to them.
A key focus is “lift stations” within the collection lines that mechanically raise wastewater to make it flow correctly. At each of the 33 stations within the Johnson system, we’ve either repaired or are replacing generators. Another top priority continues to be mitigating the potential for sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) at the Main Yard lift station. We recently made an important improvement to this station by replacing the permanent pumps.
We’re also making headway in our assessment of ways to optimize treatment processes at the Section 11 water treatment plant. These improvements are necessary in the short run until a new plant is developed under the three-year capital improvement plan. As part of this project, we’re designing upgrades to the Mirage lift station which will enable additional flow to be diverted from Section 11 to the Anthem wastewater treatment plant. We expect this project to be finished late this year.
Rate Case Update
At the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Open Meeting on March 13, the ACC approved Johnson Utilities’ request to withdraw the rate application that was filed in December 2017. The ACC also ordered Johnson, through EPCOR, to file a new full rate case application by May 1, 2020. This deferred scheduling will result in a more accurate rate review that accounts for capital expenditures and improvements to the Johnson system in the interim.
ACC Approves Annual CAGRD Adjuster Fee
The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) is a division of the Central Arizona Project that helps water users in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties meet their water supply needs. As a Member Service Area of the CAGRD, Johnson Utilities pays the CAGRD an annual invoice and assesses a CAGRD adjuster fee to customers to defray this expense. This fee shows up as a regular, recurring line item in customers’ monthly water bills. The fee assessed to customers is approved by the ACC through a proposal filed each October.
On March 12, the ACC approved the annual adjuster fee that Johnson Utilities proposed last October. The fee is based on actual water use within the Johnson Utilities system along with the CAGRD’s current rates, and is not related to EPCOR’s interim management of Johnson Utilities. The new fee will appear in the first customer billing cycle after today, and will be effective for the next 12 months. Depending on where you live within the Johnson service territory, this adjustment may show up as a slight increase or decrease in the CAGRD line item on your water bill.
The CAGRD can be complicated to understand, but plays a critical role in assuring a guaranteed water supply for water users in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties. For more information about how the CAGRD works, please visit this page on the Central Arizona Project website.
We’ve completed a customer satisfaction survey and are analyzing results to identify new areas for improvement in customer service. We’re streamlining the meter reading and billing schedules for better efficiency, and developing tools to enhance customer communications – including a more timely way to notify customers of planned service outages.
Thank you again to those who attended our February update meeting. We take our responsibility as interim manager of Johnson Utilities seriously, and remain committed to the goal of ensuring clean, reliable, safe service for customers.
Questions? Contact Us
24/7 Bill Payment: 1-844-567-2502
Customer service & billing inquiries: 480-987-9870
Emergencies: 480-987-9870 (press 6) or 480-887-0648