Utility companies can raise their prices if they wish.
No they can't. They can propose rate increases and pitch capital expenditures or R&D, but they cannot do it on their own. Utilities operate in regulated markets and virtually all rate increases, fee levies and capital expenditures have to be approved by state and/or local public utility commissions (sometimes called public service commissions). Often then, there is a mostly-fixed profit margin imposed on the utility companies leading to rather inflexible pricing and investment options for the company. Like any quasi-government body, the PUCs are susceptible to lobbying interests, single-issue candidates, busy-bodies, histrionics, endless red tape and the various other plagues of politics which essentially tie the hands of the utility companies when it comes to business decisions.