Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A public utility is a company that maintains the infrastructure for a public service. Public utilities often involve natural monopolies, and as a result are often government monopolies, or (if privately owned) treated as specially regulated sectors.
Examples of utilities are:
- Electric power transmission and electricity distribution
- Drinking water purification and distribution
- Sewage treatment and disposal
- Other waste disposal
- Natural gas distribution
- Public transport by bus, train, etc.
- Cable television and telephone lines
Developments in technology have eroded some of the monopoly aspects of traditional public utilities. For instance, electricity generation, electricity retailing, telecommunication and postal services have become competitive in some countries and the trend towards liberalization, deregulation and privatization of public utilities is growing.
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