The History of Public Utilities

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The History of Public Utilities

A public utility is a business that supplies an amenity to the public at large. Public utilities provide water, electricity, natural gas, telephone service, trash and other essentials. With the rise of the cellular phone the telephone utility has seen a decrease in use. Typically a public utility has a natural monopoly on the service it provides. It is more economically efficient to have only one business provide the service. When it comes to charging for the services the business provides the companies are entitled to charge self-determined, reasonable rates for the service. These rates are typically influenced and established by regulations on the service itself. Electricity is used by about 97% of people in the United States today. Just 132 years ago not a single house used electricity. That changed when a man named Thomas Edison discovered how to harness to energy. Thomas Edison was an inventor and is the holder of 1,093 patents. He is credited with inventing items such as the electric light bulb, phonograph, motion picture camera, and the stock ticker. Edison was credited with the invention of the electric light bulb in 1878. After receiving support and funding by the famous banker J.P. Morgan, Edison was able to open one of the first research laboratories in the United States. In this laboratory Edison was able to focus on unlocking the full potential of electricity. After a few months of research Edison founded the Edison Electric Light Company which manufactured light bulbs to be used as a replacement for kerosene lamps. Two years later he founded the Edison Illuminating Company. This company started an electric revolution. Edison and his company installed electric wires and light bulbs in J.P. Morgan’s home. This was the first home in the United States to be completely lit by electricity. These personal electric lighting systems were powered by on-site generators. After complaints of noise pollution Edison began...
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