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As extreme heat lingers, millions of U.S. households face a utility shutoff crisis

Jul 7, 2023
And it's leaving some people without the electricity to power a fan or air conditioner during intense heat waves.
Utilities cut power to at least 3 million customers who missed payments last year and shutoffs happen most often in the summer, according to research from University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University.
Scott Heins/Getty Images

Thames Water, the UK’s biggest water company, struggles to plug a hole in its finances

Jul 6, 2023
Huge debts and raw sewage threaten the future of a major British utility.
Joan Fennelly, left, and Jo Robb of the Henley Mermaids swimming in the Thames — in spite of the sewage. “We’ve seen it all and it’s very upsetting.”
Mimisse Beard

Utilities' emergency costs spark surge in ratepayer-funded recovery bonds

Feb 6, 2023
To pay off expenses caused by storms or power plant retirements, utilities are increasingly turning to something called securitization.
More than half of states have legislation allowing utilities to use securitization to pay off massive one-time expenses.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A shortage of electrical transformers holds back utilities, businesses

Nov 14, 2022
A utilities trade group has asked the Biden administration to help boost the supply.
Transformers act like an interface between the power grid and a home or business. The current shortage of transformers is frustrating for utility companies.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Cash-strapped cities consider turning crumbling utilities over to the private sector

Oct 20, 2022
Infrastructure repairs are usually left up to local governments, but smaller cities can’t always afford these repairs.
Above, a water treatment plant on Aug. 31, in Jackson, Mississippi. In places like Jackson and Duquesne, Pennsylvania, crumbling infrastructure has led to unclean drinking water.
Brad Vest/Getty Images

In fire-prone California, experts push utilities to monitor the riskiest equipment on the grid

Jan 6, 2022
Power lines and equipment have sparked devastating blazes. Now companies are asked to take stock of their aging infrastructure.
Utilities have been making upgrades to their systems. Above, workers re-anchor a pole that suspends power lines outside Acton, California.
Lily Jamali/Marketplace

Why don't American cities have more public bathrooms?

Dec 1, 2021
Writer Elizabeth Yuko explains why Americans use toilets in private businesses instead of those maintained by the government.
"9/11 really was the final nail in the coffin for a lot of the remaining public restrooms and a lot have been closed since," says Elizabeth Yuko, a contributing writer for Bloomberg CityLab.
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The pandemic slowed global efforts to expand access to electricity

Sep 29, 2021
According to a new IEA report, the pandemic stalled progress the most in sub-Saharan Africa.
A report shows that the pandemic hindered efforts to establish access to electricity around the globe, as governments diverted resources to fighting COVID-19.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Why not bury all our power lines?

Sep 1, 2021
The upfront cost is high and the cost-benefit calculation depends and the region, experts say.
Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

California's battery-supported grid off to a slow start

Jul 13, 2021
California’s grid operator hoped new battery storage could prevent rolling blackouts. Installation has been delayed.
The sun shines over towers carrying electical lines in South San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images