NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The following companies from the utility industry span sectors such as electric-integrated, water, pipelines and gas distribution and have high-dividend yield and significant potential upside over the next 12 months. These companies are scheduled to release their quarterly earnings during the week. To avoid risky equity plays in the current down market, investors should consider utility stocks, which are classic defensives with their above-average dividend yield. Since April 29, 2011, the utilities sector on the S&P 500 index edged up 0.02% compared to the industrial, financial and basic material sectors, which shed 10.6%, 9.7% and 6.6%, respectively. These stocks have market capitalization above $1 billion and generate dividend yield in the range of 2.6% to 5.0%. According to analysts' estimates, these eight stocks are likely to generate 5% to 14% upside. On average, these stocks have a 42% buy rating and 53% hold rating. The stocks are stacked based on dividend yield, lowest to highest.