“The term utilities can also refer to the set of services provided by these organizations consumed by the public: coal, electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, telephone, and transportation. ” [wikipedia]

Services that are necessities – provided for our survival – and (should be) strongly regulated and continuously tested to conform to regulations and science.

Services that always involves very expensive infrastructure (power plants and electrical distribution networks, water sources – treatment plants – water distribution pipes, et c), infrastructures that too often increasingly are lacking maintenance and we could unfortunately expect increasing failures in various utilities. (Add potential for increasingly extreme weather that puts more pressure on systems for generation and distribution of electricity, gas, et c.)



  • Availability, reliability of services, uptime
    • Utilities providers
      • Plans (WARNING for market-adjustable prices, Costs-bullet just below)
    • Distribution network
    • Power plant operators
  • Costs – market economy with dysfunctional regulations and shady actors pushing normal bills in the $$$ to $$$$ (shocking $5000+ bills for residential customer, Texas, February 2021)


  • Know your service provider, and select appropriate plan.
  • Plan with failing service at a couple of times a year (heat waves, cold waves)
  • More in our sections on Electricity, Batteries, and Generators.

Gas (Natural Gas)

Risks, and Mitigation: see / comparable to Electricity above.

More in our section on Gas -Natural, Propane.

Water, and Sewage

Water, and Sewage, is similar to Electricity and Gas in regards to issues with the public sources and distribution (water and sewer networks) but far less common with alternative providers and competitive pricing and any alternative plans for choose from. Less concerns around crazy bills i.e.


  • That the public utility can, actually do, provide clean water!
    • Failing treatment plants due to power outage (Texas, Feb 2021!)
    • Aging pipes with increasing failures, lack of maintenance
  • And even if still get water, at lower pressure, may come under boiling notice (Texas, Feb 2021!) but without power source (e.g. electricity) can’t boil water.
  • And without water in, no flushing of toilets.
  • And… with non-functional sewage, due to freeze or otherwise broken pipes, you may really get into deep shit. ‘xcuse our French.


  • Plan with occasional failing service (both that comes along with failing electricity at a couple of times a year, heat waves and cold waves, and due to bursting city pipes)
  • Never hurt to keep some stock of water in bottles and jugs
  • More in our section Water.


On a scale of things, in a modern society, this is something of less critical urgency. Having the trash piled up for a week or so isn’t something we can’t survive and the regular services will come back and take care of it.


Broadband internet services (both fixed-line and mobile) are increasingly being included within the definition.[1][2][3][4]” [wikipedia]


  • Very depending on electricity so when you’re electricity is gone, basically all your traditional communications will fail at same time.
    • Internet on computers, tablets, on TV, smart home…
      • What will continue to work is cellular phones on cellular network, as long as you can charge your devices…
    • TV services (cabled – coax, copper, fiber), satellite)
    • Phone services when ‘new and modern’ IP-based; NOT the Plain Old… (see Communications)
    • Radio, unless keep some old radio, and have batteries.


Security, Safety


  • Expect security system and smart home features to fail, when electricity goes. Unless have backups for both power (e.g. batteries) and communications (cellular service enabling appropriate networking for devices).


  • Make sure you have plans and instructions readily available, and in print (not on computer, not on Cloud-service requiring Internet service), for how handle your own safety and security.


A far harder and more expensive area with any more sustainable mitigation strategies.

  • Good to have a 4-wheel vehicle in the houseful, for slippery and icy roads.
  • Make sure to gas it up as soon as weather forecasts indicate severe conditions.
    • And maybe some container(s) with extra gas, just be aware of risks of storage at home and local ordinances.

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