Obviously, the health of the dividend does depend on the company's ability to produce strong earnings. However, as the largest utility company in Brazil, based in the center of country's industrial operations, do not expect CPL to be losing money anytime soon.
Consolidated Edison - Consolidated Edison (ED) has been a mainstay on Wall Street for over 100 years. Quite literally, as Con Ed has been the electricity provider for Wall Street as well as the rest of the New York Metropolitan area since 1884. With this history comes a foundation in which Con Ed has built itself on as a stable, trustworthy, long-term investment suitable for a wide variety of investors. The basis for this foundation: dividends. Consolidated Edison is one of only two utilities companies in the S&P 500 to increase their dividend since 1975. That is over 30 years of dividend growth. Currently, the yield stands around 6.5%. Con Ed is a company that has built itself on dividend payments and will continue to do so. Just this year the company boosted its yield another 100 basis points. With its firm place in New York City, the face of this company is safe, so is its dividend.
Dominion Resources - Dominion Resources (D )is a large cap electric utility company based in Richmond Virginia. Currently, the company is yielding an attractive 5.8%. With 2009 being the company's 100 year anniversary, expect more of the same in terms of distributions to their loyal investors. For starters, Dominion operates in an ideal regulatory environment, allowing the company to comfortably predict revenue streams, while making assertive forward looking statements on the future of their dividend payouts. In 2007, the company's board of directors set a policy in which the company is to attain a 55% payout ratio by 2010. Due to this policy, Dominion announced that they expect to increase their dividend 11% in 2009 alone. With this 11% growth in 2009, Dominion will grow their yield 26.8% since 2006. This historic growth, coupled with the company's stated expectations, should be the assurance any investor needs to put trust in the dividend yield of this southern belle.
Southern Company - Southern Company (SO), with operations on the southeast coast of the United States, currently offers a commendable yield of 6%. In 2008, Southern was the definition of stability, outperforming the utilities sector by an astounding 28%. While the company has had its struggles in 2009, it has still set its target payout ratio to a range of 65-70%. Although the last dividend increase was in April of 2008 (a 4.3% hike), Southern has 245 consecutive quarters of dividend payments under its belt and there is no indication these cash flows will run dry anytime soon.
Disclosure: The mutual fund the author is associated with is long SO, ED, and FPL.