In command economies, these functions are generally performed directly by the state. In mixed economies, they are usually tightly regulated by the state to avoid the adverse effects of de facto monopolistic private enterprise. In some poorer countries, these functions may not be available at all.
Examples of utilities are:
- electric power transmission and electricity distribution
- drinking water purification and distribution
- sewage treatment and disposal
- other waste disposal
- natural gas distribution
- public transport by bus, train, etc.
- cable television and telephone lines
Developments in technology have eroded some of the monopoly aspects of traditional public utilities. For instance, electricity generation, electricity retailing, telecommunication and postal services have become competitive in some countries and the trend towards liberalization, deregulation and privatization of public utilities is growing.