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 ?
Should we jail a smash-and-grab opportunist who spotted the weaknesses of an inefficient, publicly-owned utility and, along with a shower of mates, took a million off tax-payers in a daring raid?