Public Utilities, Second Edition

Public Utilities, Second Edition

Old Problems, New Challenges

David E. McNabb

A thoroughly updated introduction to the current issues and challenges facing managers and administrators in the investor and publicly owned utility industry, this engaging volume addresses management concerns in five sectors of the utility industry: electric power, natural gas, water, wastewater systems and public transit.

Chapter 20: Sustainability: the core challenge facing public utilities

David E. McNabb

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy


In many ways, the public utility industry is in the best condition it has ever been. However, many problems continue to plague utility managers and administrators; the challenges they face are exacerbated by human and natural events and conditions not previously encountered. The combination of climate change, security threats, population growth, urbanization and road congestion, and infrastructure deterioration form a set of challenges for utility managers that promise to severely strain their financial and operational resources. This chapter looks at five of the major challenges that utilities must surmount over the next twenty-five years and beyond, including making the repairs and replacements necessary in large segments of the industry’s infrastructure, dealing with an increasingly stringent regulatory environment, climate change related environmental repercussions, securing the necessary funding for capital improvements, and protecting against physical and cyberattacks.

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