Utilities are companies that provide essential services--such as water, gas, telephone services and electricity--to homes and businesses in a particular region. Historically public utility companies had a monopoly on the services they provided, but as industries have deregulated, competition has proliferated. However, even utilities that have competition may still be bound by certain law created in the days of monopolies. For example, prices and rates may still be set by or approved by government regulators. Utilities law attorneys may represent the public service companies, government regulators, consumer advocacy groups and/or individuals customers. Lawyers may represent clients in utility-related matters before regulatory commissions, in lobbying government and elected officials on potential legislation, and in working to ensure that utility companies are in compliance with all applicable local, state and federal regulations.