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BP plc (ADR) (BP), The Southern Company (SO): This Week in Utilities: Wind Sales, Explosions, and More

From a $1.5 billion wind sale to an unexpected explosion, it’s been a busy week for utilities. Here’s what you need to know to stay current on your dividend portfolio’s profits.

BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) winds down wind
BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP)
announced this week that it plans to sell off its $1.5 billion worth of wind farms in an effort to further specialize on high-margin oil production and exploration. The move comes as part of the corporation’s larger $38 billion garage sale and is meant to streamline operations and improve efficiencies as the company downsizes.

BP To Pay Massive Fine, More To Come

No buyers have been announced for the corporation’s 16 wind farms, but potential buyers include NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC), or Atlantic Power Corp (NYSE:AT). All three utilities have added on wind recently, and as companies continue to specialize in specific energies, more wind could help to boost margins.

Wind comprised 56% of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE)’s generation capacity in 2012, while Exelon spent $650 million in capex last year to add on to its 44 wind projects. Atlantic Power Corp (NYSE:AT) recently announced that it will focus on natural gas and renewables in the future, and the utility’s 2012 acquisition of Ridgeline Energy added three wind farms to its energy portfolio.

NextEra upgraded to “buy”
The nation’s largest renewable-energy producer got a boost from Goldman’s green light this week. In a report published Wednesday, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) analyst Michael Lapides upgraded NextEra to a buy based on its sustainable dividend growth, above-average EPS, improving cash flow, healthy regulatory environment, and renewable growth opportunity.

The utility’s stock has outperformed both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Index over the past year, and it has popped up an additional 1.5% since Lapides’ report.

NEE Chart

NEE data by YCharts.

The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) explosion
An explosion shut down one of The Southern Company (NYSE:SO)‘s largest coal-fired generation plants on Thursday. According to the utility, the explosion occurred during a routine maintenance outage. No employees were hurt, but the cause of the explosion remains unknown and the 3,160 MW plant remains out of commission.

The plant represents 7.3% of the utility’s total capacity, but Southern Company (NYSE:SO) stressed that services to its Georgia customers will continue uninterrupted.

TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE) files for rate increase
TECO Energy, Inc (NYSE:TE)
‘s Tampa Electric filed a formal request with the Public Service Commission to raise rates by 10% in 2014. Its last request came in 2008, and, according to TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE), its new ask would keep rates 5% below national levels for its Florida customers.

The move comes as part of TECO’s plans to raise an extra $135 million to cover rising energy costs. The Public Service Commission is expected to consider TECO’s ask later this year, with a final decision delivered by the end of 2013.

The article This Week in Utilities: Wind Sales, Explosions, and More originally appeared on

Fool contributor Justin Loiseau has no position in any stocks mentioned, but he does use electricity. You can follow him on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo.The Motley Fool recommends Exelon and Southern.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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