Chapter 10 Introduction

Utilities are crucial to health and well-being. All consumers must be able to rely on the availability of safe, affordable, and high-quality utility and communications services. These include high-speed home and mobile internet, telephone services, cable television, electricity, heating, water, and sewer services. People must be able to contact police, fire, medical, and other responders during emergencies. They need to drink and bathe in affordable, safe water. And they need to pay a reasonable rate for summer air-conditioning and ample heat in winter. Older Americans particularly need these services. But many find that they eat up a sizable share of their household budget. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers must have access to affordable and reliable utilities.