Many of us are somewhat familiar with what an electric utility does. Our house receives electricity, and we get a bill in the mail each month for it. Here in North Carolina, that bill is likely coming from Duke Energy. In other parts of the country it may be PG&E or Dominion Power. For at least a century, these utility monopolies have built power plants, installed transmission and distribution lines, billed customers for their electricity use, and the utility made a predictable margin for their work.