July 27, 2011
I saw an article in the Democrat & Chronicle yesterday that is nearly an annual event: record demand for power at our local electric utilities. This is not uncommon around the country, and for a number of reasons:
- Some cite global warming and a corresponding demand for air conditioning in the hottest parts of the summer.
- Population growth will see corresponding growth in demand for power, as will resurgent economic activity as we continue to recover from the recession.
- Increasing prosperity also fuels demand. Thirty years ago it was the exception for homes in the northern parts of the US to have air conditioning. Now it is increasingly common, just as it is common for households to have two cars rather than just one, to have larger homes than 30 years ago, and so on.
- Intersecting with prosperity is technology. Computers, smart phones, DVRs and the like have become ubiquitous. If you have looked around your home at night you see little green glowing spots, like fireflies, signifying your TV, coffeemaker, printer - you get the idea. Technology takes power and we are consumers of technology; power comes with it almost without thinking.
It has me thinking about investments that may prosper. First would be electric utilities. Mergers have reduced the number of public utilities from as recently as ten years ago, but there are many sound companies in the field worthy of evaluation. Next of course would be the fuel that generates that power - coal and natural gas, mainly. For many years utilities have been seen as stable generators of not just power but also cash dividends, and that remains true in many cases today. Always consult your advisor and do your homework before plunging in, but don't overlook this sector.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).