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Consolidated Edison, Inc. (ED), Duke Energy Corp (DUK), Edison International (EIX) – This Week in Utilities: Bigger Dividends and Climate Change Costs

Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED)Utilities have been busy this week, making moves to maximize profit potential. With bigger dividends, Obama’s new climate change policy, natural gas investments, and more, here’s what you need to know to stay on top of your dividend stocks’ latest moves.

Natural NYC
Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED)
announced earlier this week that it plans to spend around $100 million extending its New York City natural gas infrastructure. The decision is based on a variety of factors but can be most directly linked to environmental regulation compliance and cheaper costs for both Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED) and customers.

“Building owners who make this choice will lower their energy bills and contribute to making New York City cleaner, safer, and economically vibrant,” said Director of Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED) subsidiary Gas Conversion Group Nick Inga in a statement. As the utility phases out fuel oil to comply with different regulations, it expects to cut direct costs by 40%.

Bigger Duke dividend
Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)
is increasing its quarterly dividend for the sixth straight year. Although the move only increases distributions by 2%, the announcement follows on the heels of a major leadership change for Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK). CFO Lynn Good will assume CEO position later this month, and the new dividend may be a symbolic peace pipe to shareholders concerned about major changes.

“We realize the importance of the dividend payment to our shareholders,” said Good in a statement. “One of our primary financial objectives has been to consistently grow the dividend annually. The strength of our balance sheet and significant regulated business mix has allowed us to do exactly that for the past six consecutive years.”

Nuclear layoffs
Edison International (NYSE:EIX)
isn’t helping employment numbers this summer — or this year, even. The utility announced Wednesday that it is laying off 1,100 workers as it begins its decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear plant in California.

“The premature shutdown of San Onofre is very unfortunate,” said Pete Dietrich, SCE’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, in a statement. “We have an extraordinary team of men and women. We appreciate their years of dedicated service and will continue to extend to them the utmost respect and consideration.”

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