The first thing I would do is buy the stocks of utilities for which I am not concerned that the earnings risk is very high. That means you should buy
). Why Dominion? Because, just this week, we heard on "Mad Money" that this 3.6% yielder is doing incredibly well.
First, it is going to spin off a master limited partnership, which is terrific and will bring in a lot of cash. Second, business itself allows for the continued increase in dividends. Finally, it is building a remarkable liquefied natural gas export plant that is well ahead of every other LNG facility on the books -- with the possible exception of the Cheniere export plant, because both plants were at one-time LNG import facilities. So they are simply reverse-engineering plants that had already been permitted, had the docks ready and have been hooked into pipe.
Dominion CEO Tom Farrell has already pre-sold the LNG, so the risk here is very small. A growth utility may be a terrific place to be as the deadline comes close, or even if it gets passed.
I would also consider the common stock of another serial raiser:
). Why this one? Simple: It is not a generator of energy. It is a purveyor of energy. That's a nice augmenting of Dominion, which has some coal exposure -- something that ConEd has none of. ConEd is a play on the conversion of oil to natural gas, and it has a ready supply of natural gas to a city that has tremendous growth, and won't be all that affected by a crisis, because the economy is more international than many realize.
Finally, I think we will get a chance to buy
), which is already at about 5% yield and has an amazingly long-term history of paying that dividend through the toughest times imaginable. I have interviewed Southern several times, and I truly think this company gets the sanctity of the dividend better than just any utility. I like the fact that Dave Peltier, who is the portfolio manager for
Street's Dividend Stock Advisor
, has selected Southern. That portfolio has beaten the Dow Jones Dividend Index by sporting stocks that have consistently raised their dividends -- which is exactly the opposite, obviously, of what bond-issuers can do.