utility-n; 6 Senses

Sense Number 1: a company that provides public service commodities

Commentary: UTILITY[+enterprise][+business][+service][+electric/+water/+gas]

They have deregulated many of the public utilities. (companies have fewer rules to follow)
That utility firm has been fined for going over its emission quotas.
The electric utilities are raising prices by about ten percent in some regions.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1

Sense Number 2: the quality of being useful for something

Commentary: UTILITY[+quality][+usefulness][+contextual]

A Swiss Army knife is of great utility on a camping trip.
The utility of these old shoes as running shoes is just about gone.
He's considered the best utility man of their baseball club. (good at playing different positions)
Bob replaced his gas-guzzling sports utility with a hybrid car. (good for sporty excursions)

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 2

Sense Number 3: commodity service provided by a public service company

Commentary: UTILITY[+commodity][+service][+gas/+electricity/+water]

Does the rent include all utilities? (cost for heat, water, electricity)
Utilities have been restored to only some neighborhoods in the wake of the big ice storm.
There was an error in my gas utility bill last month. (focus is on the consumed service)
They have turned off all utilities to John's apartment until the bills are paid.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 3

Sense Number 4: a measure of benefit

Commentary: UTILITY[+quantity][+measure][+benefit]

Economists define marginal utility as the additional benefit received by adding one more unit of good or service.
Game theorists study how players try to maximize their own utility through their choices.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 4

Sense Number 5: a computer program that performs system support

Commentary: UTILITY[+program][+computer][+support]

You should familiarize yourself with the basic Unix utilities.
Sally wrote a utility program to perform automatic nightly backups of the database.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 5

Sense Number 6: equipment or installation that provide services

Commentary: UTILITY[+equipment][+service][+small][+washer/+dryer/+AC] UTILITY[+equipment][+service][+large][+power_plant]

They financed the new power plant by issuing utility bonds. (debt for building the installation)
All the utilities come with the house except for the washer and dryer. (heater, dishwasher, etc.)
These old utilities are being replaced with more modern and fuel-efficient plants.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 6