Most electric generating utilities and local phone service charge you a monthly fee even if don't use their services at all (i.e. you sit in the dark and neither make nor receive phone calls). In theory, these fix-fee revenues allow the utility to price at marginal cost, while still collecting enough revenue to cover total costs. Thus, this method can achieve allocative efficiency without forcing the firm to lose money. In reality, there is little reason to believe that most utilities have set per-unit prices equal to marginal cost.
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