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NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE), Dominion Resources, Inc. (D) – This Week in Utilities: 3 Dividend Stocks You Need to Watch

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Utilities stayed busy this week with nuclear scandals, solar sales, and everything in between. Here’s what you need to know to stay on top of your dividend stocks’ latest moves.

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE)

Nuclear negligence
A former Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR) employee’s actions once again highlighted the high stakes of nuclear energy and human error. Daniel Wilson, a former chemistry manager at Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR)’s Indian Point energy center, was arrested on Tuesday on federal charges of falsifying documents. The utility released a statement outlining its actions, along with a promise to cooperate fully with authorities. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara put in his own two cents, highlighting the gravity of the situation:

Any alleged deliberate misconduct at a facility like Indian Point is a matter of grave concern to this Office. One need look no further than recent natural disasters to know that at important facilities, backup generators and other systems must be maintained in working order because in an emergency they may be critical .

Reduced rates
Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)
received some bad news from regulators this week, when it agreed to take a nearly 50% cut in its rate request increase for its Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) Carolinas subsidiary. For individual customers, the revised rate represents a 7-percentage-point decrease from the utility’s requested 15.1% increase. For the utility, the decision pushes retail revenue increases down from $220 million to $119 million.

For Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) overall, the new rate is equivalent to 0.6% of fiscal 2012 sales, or 6.7% of net profit. As part of the agreement, the utility will also hold off on additional rate requests until September 2015.

Say hello to solar

Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D) announced this week that it is acquiring three new Indiana solar farms, shedding more light on its recent renewable-energy ramp-up. Total capacity clocks in at 28.6 MW, and the company is already lined up with 15-year power purchase agreements with utility Indianapolis Power and Light.

“Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D) has been adding renewable energy to its diversified generation mix and is very pleased to acquire these three solar projects,” said Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D) Generation CEO David Christian. “These projects are consistent with Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D)’s promotion of a portfolio of efficient conventional, nuclear, and renewable resources.”

Tiny solar acquisitions like this will never be market movers like the glory days of a new multibillion-dollar coal or nuclear power plant announcement, but Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D)’s foray into alternative energies is continually (a) increasing its energy diversity and (b) providing small profits that ultimately add up.

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