The US has traditionally regulated utilities to protect the public interest, shielding consumers from monopoly pricing. In the past, utility regulations required companies to charge all consumers fair, reasonable rates and to provide service that met quality and safety standards. In exchange the government allowed utilities to earn a reasonable rate of return on capital. It also granted exclusive service territories to minimize competition and provided access to and/or rights of way through public property. In recent decades, utility services are facing changes in the scope and nature of this regulation. These changes aim to address current trends and challenges, such as market-oriented policies, development and deployment of new technologies, and climate change.