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Our “Terrific 10″ List of Utility Stocks that Pay Dividends

By ID Analysts on April 1, 2012

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Utility stocks typically appeal to income investors because they provide low volatility and steady dividends. Utilities create an essential product, making them resistant to market fluctuations and allowing them to regularly increase dividends to shareholders.

These inherent strengths are exemplified by our list of 10 utility stocks below. Each of these stocks has consistently increased dividends every year for over 30 years, providing steady income and capital gains for investors.

Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED)

Consolidated Edison is one of the oldest and largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides electricity, gas, and steam services to the New York metropolitan area.

Consolidated Edison has increased its dividend for 38 consecutive years, averaging a 0.9 percent per year increase over the last 10 years.

Middlesex Water (NSDQ: MSEX)

Founded in 1897, Middlesex Water provides a full range of regulated and non-regulated water, wastewater utility and related services chiefly in Delaware and New Jersey. Middlesex Water manages 10 affiliated companies through which it designs, builds, owns and operates water and wastewater assets, conducts municipal contract operations and public/private partnerships and offers water and sewer line maintenance services. Middlesex Water and its subsidiaries serve over 140,000 customers. 

Middlesex Water has raised its dividend for 39 consecutive years. Over the last 10 years, the company grew its dividend at an average rate of 1.6 percent per year.

National Fuel Gas (NYSE: NFG)

Founded in 1902, National Fuel Gas is a diversified energy company with its headquarters in Williamsville, New York. The company operates four business segments: Utility, Pipeline and Storage, Exploration and Production and Energy Marketing.

National Fuel Gas’ dividend has increased for 41 consecutive years, growing at an average of 3.6 percent per year over the last 10 years.

Black Hills (NYSE: BKH)

Black Hills is a diversified energy holding company with two principal business units—Utilities and Non-regulated Energy. Utility operations include Black Hills Power, Cheyenne Light Fuel & Power, Colorado Electric, Nebraska Natural Gas, and Iowa Natural Gas. The company’s non-regulated energy businesses include power generation, oil and natural gas production and coal mining. These operations play an ancillary role to the company’s utility business.

Black Hills’ dividend has increased for 41 consecutive years, growing at an average of 2.8 percent per year over the last 10 years.

Connecticut Water (NSDQ: CTWS)

Connecticut Water was formed in 1956, through the merger of two local water companies. Today, the regulated utility serves 300,000 people in 90,000 homes throughout 55 towns in Connecticut. In 2012, the company expanded into Maine through its acquisition of utility company, Aqua Maine.

Connecticut Water has increased its dividend for 42 consecutive years, averaging a 1.5 percent per year increase over the last 10 years.

SJW (NYSE: SJW)

Founded in 1985, SJW operates as a holding company for San Jose Water, a water utility with both regulated and non-regulated businesses; SJW Land, which owns commercial buildings and undeveloped land; SJWTX, a water utility; and Texas Water Alliance.

SJW has raised its dividend for 44 consecutive years. Over the last 10 years, the company grew its dividend at an average rate of 4.9 percent per year—the fastest growth of any of the companies on this list.

California Water Service (NYSE: CWT)

California Water Service is the third-largest investor-owned water utility in the US. Formed in 1926, the company serves more than 460,000 customers throughout the Golden State. The company’s subsidiaries include Cal Water, Washington Water Service, New Mexico Water Service, Hawaii Water Service, HWS Utility Services, and CWS Utility Services.

California Water Service has increased its dividend for 44 consecutive years, averaging a 1 percent per year increase over the last 10 years.

(Dividend info source)

Vectren (NYSE: VVC)

Vectren is an energy holding company created from the merger of Indiana Gas and Southern Indiana Gas and Electric in 2000. Headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, Vectren distributes natural gas to approximately one million business and residential customers in Indiana and Ohio. It also distributes electricity to 141,000 customers and has 1,425 megwatts of primarily coal-fired generating capacity in Indiana.

Including the dividend increases of its predecessor companies, Vectren has increased its dividend for 52 consecutive years, averaging a 3.2 percent per year increase over the last 10 years.

NW Natural (NYSE: NWN)

Founded in 1859, NW Natural, formerly Northwest Natural Gas, is a publicly traded utility that predates the formation of the State of Oregon. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, the company’s primary business involves the distribution of natural gas to residential, industrial, and commercial customers in Western Oregon and Southwest Washington in the Pacific Northwest.

NW Natural has increased its dividend for 56 consecutive years, averaging a 3.2 percent per year increase over the last 10 years.

American States Water (NYSE: AWR)

American States Water is the parent of Golden State Water and American States Utility Services. Through its subsidiaries, the company engages primarily in the delivery of water services, operating 38 separate water systems in 10 counties of California and providing electricity to 24,000 customers in the Big Bear area. As stated on the company’s 2012 corporate fact sheet, American States Water is looking to grow operating revenue by pursuing a number of bids for water and wastewater management services at various US military bases.

American States Water has raised its dividend for 58 consecutive years. Over the last 10 years, the company grew its dividend at an average rate of 2.3 percent per year.

Unless otherwise specified, all dividend increase information was obtained from the respective company’s annual report. All data on dividend growth in the last 10 years was provided by dripinvesting.org.

For more tips on investing in top utilities, check out our utility stocks category page.

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