Nearly nine in 10 Americans get their water from a publicly owned utility. This means that when the vast majority of us pay our water bill each month, we write the check to the city, not to a privately owned water company. This is a good thing: A new report finds that privately owned, for-profit water companies are rarely good for the consumer.

Researchers from consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch looked at private versus publicly owned utilities, and found that for-profit water suppliers are 58 percent more expensive than public utilities on average. And some private water suppliers are more expensive still: In New York and Illinois, private companies charge double what public utilities do; in Pennsylvania, they charge 84 percent more; in New Jersey, 79 percent more. Researchers also found that private companies provided worse service, were less accountable, and were more likely to make decisions based solely on profit than public utilities. Basically, if you’re getting your water from a for-profit company, you’re probably getting screwed.

The mismanagement of water supplies by private companies is nothing new. Food & Water Watch reports that New York City created a public water utility in the 19th century after a cholera outbreak in a privately owned system killed 3,500 people. That system was owned by the predecessor of JPMorgan Chase. Los Angeles and San Francisco soon followed suit — and the public benefited: More people got safer water for less money.