There seem to be two John Majors inhabiting the same body. One is the thoroughly decent chap enjoying the final innings of the day as the Sun slips below the village pub roof, the other is the sweaty grunting brute of a satyr making the beast with two backs on a Commons office floor; one is the politician stating that utilities should be private but heavily regulated, the other is the deluded Euphile.
No-one owning shares in gas, water, power, sewers or even broadband should expect to see supernormal profits from either dividends or capital gains. Utility shares should be a step above gilts but a step below truly commercial public companies; boring, safe and low return. We get the best of commercial practice and avoid the worst failings of nationalised provision. That, at least, is the theory. Where it all starts to get difficult is when these global monsters buy up a car factory in Peru or a condom distributor in Canada in an effort to offer unregulated profits. Major is of the view that as quasi-public concerns, the UK generally should benefit from such activity, not the shareholders.
To a point. I actually believe the utilities are far too big. Nothing as big as British Gas or Thames Water can be good. Believe me.