public utility

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public utility

n. any organization which provides services to the general public, although it may be privately owned. Public utilities include electric, gas, telephone, water, and television cable systems, as well as streetcar and bus lines. They are allowed certain monopoly rights due to the practical need to service entire geographic areas with one system, but they are regulated by state, county and/or city public utility commissions under state laws. (See: monopoly)

References in periodicals archive ?
Since its inception, the authority acquired several privately owned utility systems operating in the county, including the 2003 purchase of the Keystone Heights utility system - the last privately owned system in the county.
Mayor Thomas Longo today sent a letter to Robert Farling, Chief Executive Officer of the parent corporation of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, charging the privately owned utility with "attempting to undermine support for public power," and for "attempting to distort the information process.
The city sought authority to condemn assets of Illinois American's Pekin district in a takeover attempt of the privately owned utility, which has served Pekin for more than 20 years.