If you have one of these Arizona water companies, you could see a refund

George Johnson is charged with bribing former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce in exchange for sticking Johnson's customers with his income-tax bill.

State regulators voted Wednesday to take another look at rules they approved a few years ago that are now the focus of a federal bribery case.

Depending on the results of that review, tens of thousands of Arizona water customers could see a refund.

Federal prosecutors allege Johnson Utilities owner George Johnson was trying to fix a deal rather than fix the company's long record of problems with its Pinal County customers.

Johnson is charged with bribing former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce in exchange with sticking Johnson's customers with his income tax bill.

Arizona Utility Ratepayer Alliance's Pat Quinn says that could mean a payout for those wronged customers.

"If there's a conviction," Quinn said, "it would seem to me they should get the money back, all the money back."

The Arizona Corporation Commission took its first steps Tuesday to deal with the scandal's fallout.

On a 5-0 vote by the all-Republican commission, they approved an independent audit of Johnson's businesses.

Commissioners are also asking Johnson's water company as well as 29 others that got the same tax break to set aside money in case a refund is necessary.

More than 90,000 customers statewide could see refunds, though Corporation Commission staff warned it might be illegal to make the refund retroactive to when the tax break was approved.

According to the Corporation Commission, these water companies have received the tax break, allowing owners to pass on their personal income taxes to customers:

Appaloosa Water Company 
Cedar Grove Water, Inc.
Chino Meadows II Water Co., Inc.
Eagletail Water Company
Farmers Water Company
Golden Shores Water Company
Granite Mountain Water Company Inc.
Great Prairie Oasis
Holiday Enterprises Incorporated 
Humboldt Water Systems, Inc. 
Johnson Utilities L.L.C. (Sewer)
Johnson Utilities L.L.C. (Water)
Kyllo Development Corporation
Lagoon Estates Water Company, Inc.
Lake Verde Water Company Inc.
Los Cerros Water Company, Inc.
Montezuma Rimrock Water Company LLC
Naco Water Company, L.L.C.
Navajo Water Company
New River Utility Company
Oatman Water Company L. L.C.
Payson Water Co., Inc.
Pima Utility Company (Sewer)
Pima Utility Company (Water)
Sahuarita Water Company, LLC
Sandario Water Company, Inc. 
Sunrise Water Company
Tonto Village Water Company, Inc.
Turner Ranches Water and Sanitation 
Vail Water Company

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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