NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 1, 2013) - As a result of plummeting natural gas prices and new carbon emission limits many U.S. utilities increased the use of natural gas for electricity in 2012. For the 12 months ended September 30th, data from the Energy Information Administration has shown that natural gas accounted for approximately 30 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S., while coal accounted for 37 percent. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Utilities Industry and provides equity research on TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE) and Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL).
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In comparison, a decade ago electricity generated from coal and natural gas was 50 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Despite cheap natural gas prices utilities have begun to diversify their energy portfolios to help protect themselves from future uncertainties. Natural gas's surge between 2002 and 2008, which saw prices nearly triple, forced power companies to raise electricity prices abruptly.
Southern Co. has begun building a coal-gasification power plant and a nuclear power plant, which are expected to be in use between 40 years and 60 years. American Electric Power's Chief Executive Nick Akins is targeting an electricity generating portfolio consisting of 35% coal, 30% natural gas, and the remaining from "mixed sources and conservation" according to the Wall Street Journal.
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TECO Energy is an energy-related holding company. Its principal subsidiary, Tampa Electric Company, is a regulated utility in Florida with both electric and gas divisions. The company currently offers investors an annual dividend of $0.88 per share for a dividend yield of approximately 5.0 percent. Teco Energy is scheduled to release its fourth quarter and year end 2012 results on Tuesday, February 5th.
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company, with operations in 8 Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers. The company offers investors an annual dividend of $1.08 per share for a dividend yield of approximately 3.9 percent.
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