Challenges and Opportunities Facing Public Utilities

Article excerpt

New ILO publications Challenges and opportunities facing public utilities. Report for discussion at the Tripartite Meeting on Challenges and Opportunities Facing Public Utilities. Sectoral Activities Programme. Geneva, 2003. v + 79 pp. Tables, figures, boxes. 17.50 Swiss franes. ISBN 92-2-113616-7.

The provision of water, gas and electricity supplies for all - regardless of the type of ownership of the provider - must be in the public interest. However, access to these services, particularly the provision of clean water, is still often inadequate and inequalities persist between countries and within countries. It remains a challenge throughout the world, especially in the developing countries, to ensure universal access at least to clean water, which is essential to human health and survival. These were among the conclusions reached by a Tripartite Meeting on Managing the Privatization and Restructuring of Public Utilities, held in 1999.3 Continuing this line of thought, this volume provides an updated report on the situation in this sector: the main challenge for water, gas and electricity providers is to maintain a balance between commercial and business concerns, calling for cost-efficient, profitable operations and broader public service values that emphasize the provision of cheap, reliable and widely accessible services whether the ownership is public or private. …