Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Publication Date



Local government, sustainability policymaking, municipal utilities, electricity, water


Most literature on utility sustainability focuses on internal operations; this misses the role that utilities cold play within a community. This study measures the impact of municipal ownership of water and electric utilities on the sustainability policymaking of local governments. I find that municipalities with government-owned water utilities adopt more sustainability measures than those with investor-owned service. Similarly, municipally-owned electric utilities have higher levels of energy sustainability in the community, but not in government operations. The utilities provide fiscal and technical capacity to municipalities. This study brings potential community benefits to the discussion of private investment in public service delivery.

Publisher Attribution

George C. Homsy (2018) Capacity, sustainability, and the community benefits of municipal utility ownership in the United States, Journal of Economic Policy Reform, DOI: 10.1080/17487870.2018.1515014

Available for download on Saturday, March 21, 2020