Public utility services for cities are usually provided on the principle of regulated monopoly. It has been found that by the very nature of the utility business, better service can be had and at cheaper rates by the use of one supplier rather than by the use of competing plants: This one plant having a monopoly of the business may be either privately or municipally owned. If the service is furnished by a privately owned utility, regulation is usually by a state commission, but in a few states regulation is still largely by the city in which the company operates. In the case of municipally owned utilities, regulation is usually provided indirectly by the electorate in their control over the city government; but in some states, the state commission has jurisdiction over municipally owned utilities, as well as over those which are privately owned.
Charles M. Kneier,
COMPETITIVE OPERATION OF MUNICIPALLY AND PRIVATELY OWNED UTILITIES,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol47/iss5/3