By Fred Fuld
Posted on Dec. 9, 2009

With winter upon us and consumers are turning up their heaters, investors might consider turning to the high-dividend utilities that are accommodating those consumers. A homeowner may be late on a mortgage payment, but gas and electric bills are less likely to be ignored when it's too cold to go outside.

Electric utility stocks have historically been some of the highest-yielding across all industries. As a matter of fact, there are over 40 with CD-beating yields of 4% or more. Their dividend feature is great for retirement plans, and they are a conservative way to play the recovery of the economy in a regular investment account.

Here are the top-paying electric utilities, starting with the highest-yielding. These are all common stocks; preferred stocks have been excluded from the list. Don't forget that dividends are subject to change, reduction or elimination at any time.

Empire District Electric (EDE) 6.9%
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP) 6.8%
Integrys Energy Group (TEG) 6.6%
Pepco Holdings (POM) 6.4%
UIL Holdings (UIL) 6.3%
Unitil (UTL) 6.3%
Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE) 6.2%
Progress Energy (PGN) 6.1%
Pinnacle West Capital (PNW) 5.8%
Georgia Power (GPW) 5.8%
Ameren (AEE) 5.7%
Westar Energy (WR) 5.7%
Black Hills (BKH) 5.7%
Duke Energy (DUK) 5.5%
CenterPoint Energy (CNP) 5.5%
Consolidated Edison (ED) 5.3%
Southern (SO) 5.3%
TransAlta (TAC) 5.3%
CH Energy Group (CHG) 5.2%
Teco Energy (TE) 5.2%
NorthWestern (NWE) 5.1%
Allete (ALE) 5.1%
Alliant Energy (LNT) 5.1%
Scana (SCG) 5.1%
Spectra Energy (SE) 5.1%
Otter Tail (OTTR) 5.0%
Portland General Electric (POR) 5.0%
DTE Energy (DTE) 5.0%
FirstEnergy (FE) 4.9%
American Electric Power (AEP) 4.8%
NStar (NST) 4.7%
Xcel Energy (XEL) 4.7%
Dominion Resources (D) 4.6%
Central Vermont Public Service (CV) 4.5%
Great Plains Energy (GXP) 4.5%
PPL (PPL) 4.3%
PNM Resources (PNM) 4.2%
Exelon (EXC) 4.2%
Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG) 4.2%
MGE Energy (MGEE) 4.1%
DPL (DPL) 4.1%
OGE Energy (OGE) 4.0%

At the time of publication, Fuld owned OTTR and PGN.

Fred Fuld is the publisher of the stock and bond investing blog Stockerblog.com and the founder of WallStreetNewsNetwork.com. He has been in the financial services industry for more than 20 years, working as an investment advisor, options market maker at the Pacific Stock Exchange, vice president of a San Francisco money management firm and college faculty member. He is the author of the books Investing in Brazil Stocks and The Green Light on Green Stocks.