Aviva Directory » Business & Industry » Energy & Utilities

Energy and utility companies work together to facilitate the production and distribution of energy.

For example, an electric company produces electricity at the power plant, using a generator, which may be powered by coal, fossil fuels, wind, solar, or nuclear reactors. From the power plant, this energy is transported to power substations, where it is changed into extremely high voltages by transformers, allowing it to travel long distances across electric lines. Next, the electricity is distributed through these lines to various homes and businesses, where it is used to keep the lights on and the appliances running.

An electric utility company owns and maintains the wires that transport electricity to homes and businesses. This is the utility that will respond when the lights go out, and this is the company that will send your electric bill.

However, a retail energy company, or energy supplier, can give you options like securing your rate, as well as offering alternative energy options, such as hydro power, solar power, or wind power.

All of the industries engaged in the production, sale, and delivery of energy are part of the larger energy industry, which includes the process of fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining, and distribution.

Major facets of the energy industry include the fossil fuel industries, such as the petroleum companies, fuel transport companies, and the end-user sale at gas stations or tanks maintained at homes and businesses, as well as the natural gas industries, including natural gas extraction, and coal gas manufacture, distribution, and sales. The nuclear power industry is also a major player.

Receiving a lot of attention and government funding, but producing a minute percentage of modern energy uses are the renewable energy industries, including alternative and sustainable energy sources, such as wind power, solar power, and alternative fuels. Hydroelectric power is a significant renewable source of energy. Not so common, although still used, in developed countries is the collection and distribution of firewood to be used for cooking and heating.

A public utility company is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service. Although a utility may be privately owned, it is subject to public control and regulation. Public utilities supply goods or services that have been deemed essential, such as water, electricity, gas, and telephone services. Increasingly, broadband Internet has been discussed as a public utility; indeed, the Federal Communications Commission in the United States made broadband Internet a public utility in 2015.

Whether public or privately owned, public utilities often operate as monopolies, although that is not always the case.

Common utilities in a home include water and sewer, electricity, and whatever form of heating fuel is in use, which could be electric heat, natural gas, heating oil, wood, or coal. Provided more by cellular means today, telephone service is a utility, as well as Internet access, and, in some cases, trash collection.



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