public utility


Definition of public utility

: a business organization (such as an electric company) performing a public service and subject to special governmental regulation

Examples of public utility in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This story in The Guardian argues that Amazon is now a public utility, referencing the need for stronger antitrust legislation similar to nationalization, breaking up the company and stronger labor protections. Greg Petro, Forbes, "The Amazon Of Antitrust Breakups," 9 Apr. 2021 Assembly Bill 380, which was introduced by Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen, D-Henderson, would have required public utility companies to perform a more rigorous study of environmental impacts before expanding their services. Robert Davis, Washington Examiner, "Nevada leaders want to further cut natural gas usage," 20 Apr. 2021 If Amazon is so big that the U.S. can’t handle matters of public health without it, that sounds like a persuasive argument for why it should be converted into a public utility. John Knefel, The New Republic, "Don’t Let Amazon and Airbnb Get Their Tentacles in Vaccine Distribution," 17 Feb. 2021 Donations can yield a 75% to 50% tax credit on Washington's public utility and business and occupation taxes which charges businesses on gross receipts as high as 0.484% for manufacturing, wholesaling, and extracting, among others. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Washington Democrats decry Inslee's 'disastrous' reopening plan, push for emergency aid," 2 Feb. 2021 In the days before television, gambling was ubiquitous, and the mob provided a kind of public utility. Russell Shorto, Time, "What My Mobster Grandfather Understood About American Capitalism," 17 Mar. 2021 The Flint Hills solar plant wouldn't need approval from the Minnesota public utility regulators, though grid interconnection agreements with Xcel likely would, Reint said. Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune, "Rosemount oil refinery considers building its own large solar farm," 26 Jan. 2021 When does a monopolistic service like Google Search in fact become a public utility deserving public ownership and regulation? Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "We Need More Than Antitrust Law to Tackle Big Tech," 4 Dec. 2020 Bouchat is president of Bouchat Industries, Inc., which provides metal fabrication services for military, industrial and public utility markets. Pat Stoetzer,, "Carroll County Commissioner Eric Bouchat in mix for vacant state delegate position," 31 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'public utility.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of public utility

1895, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of public utility was in 1895

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Statistics for public utility

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Public utility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for public utility

public utility


English Language Learners Definition of public utility

: a company (such as an electric company) that provides a public service and must follow special rules made by the government

public utility


Legal Definition of public utility

: a business organization (as an electric company) performing a public service and subject to special government regulation

More from Merriam-Webster on public utility

Nglish: Translation of public utility for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about public utility

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