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Electric utility stocks are considered to be defensive stocks as they offer relatively stable and steady growth. Investors are also attracted to them because of their excellent dividend yields. Since electricity is a basic necessity most people pay their bills on time unlike cell phone services and other items.

The utility sector is highly regulated in most parts of the world. In many markets electric companies operate as monopolies. This is especially true in most emerging countries where until recently industries such as the power sector were under the control of governments. The demand for power is growing rapidly in emerging countries such as China, India, Brazil, etc. due to the boom in infrastructure buildup and usage by consumers.

The table below lists electric utility stocks paying more than 6% dividends based on the closing price on January 13, 2010:

S.No. Name Ticker Dividend Yield as of January 13, 2010
1 CPFL Energia S.A. (ADR) CPL 6.18%
2 The Empire District Electric Company EDE 6.72%
3 Progress Energy, Inc. PGN 6.33%
4 Pepco Holdings, Inc. POM 6.26%
5 UIL Holdings Corporation UIL 6.12%
6 Unitil Corporation UTL 6.11%
7 Integrys Energy Group, Inc. TEG 6.53%
8 Westar Energy Inc WRS 6.10%
9 Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. BIP 6.24%
10 Xcel Energy Inc XEL 7.19%
11 Dominion Resources Inc D 7.59%

CPFL Energia S.A (NYSE:CPL) of Brazil had 6.4 million consumers at the end of 2008. The annual average EPS growth in the last 5 years was about 35%. The rest of the stocks in the above list are utilities based in the US. Progress Energy (NYSE:PGN) distributes electricity in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida and has 3.1 million residential customers. Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) and Dominion Resources (NYSE:D) have 7%+ yields. Dominion serves customers in 12 states. Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy (XEL) operates both in the electricity and natural gas sector and has 3.4 million retail electricity customers in eight Western and Midwestern states.

Source: 11 Electric Utilities Paying Yields Greater than 6%