Public and private utilities
According to Wikipedia, a public utility (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service, often also providing a service using that infrastructure. Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to statewide government monopolies.
The term utilities can also refer to the set of services provided by these organizations consumed by the public: Coal, electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, cable tv, telephone, and transportation. Broadband internet services, both fixed-line and mobile, are increasingly being included within the definition.
Most utilities are considered public until the point in which they deliver their service into a private facility or building. From that point, the meter for most of them, they are considered private utilities, turning home or land owners responsible for their handling.
Breaking a water pipe may cause a flooding and damage nearby constructions or their foundations, a wrecked natural gas pipe may cause fire or even explosions, and in some cases even a damaged electric cable may cause a blackout in its surroundings. Whether the utility is private or public there is an economic cost to their repair and to the damage of its interruption to the community.