Is low to moderate dividend growth expected for dividend growth utility stocks?

Utility Pole / 電柱

As a dividend growth investor there are four Canadian utility stocks that I’d consider investing in: Canadian Utilities Ltd. [TSE:CU Trend], Fortis Inc. [TSE:FTS Trend], Atco Ltd. [TSE:ACO.X Trend], and Emera Inc. [TSE:EMA Trend]. Atco Ltd. owns Canadian Utilities Ltd. and has some other activities, so you could say there are really only 3 ½ companies I’m interested in. Canadian Utilities Ltd, Fortis Inc. and Atco Ltd. have been able to increase dividends in each calendar year for over two decades, while Emera Inc. has a dividend streak of 8 years. These are impressive streaks, but what has me worried with some of these utility stocks is their long term dividend growth rates.

Typically I try and target annual dividend growth of 8% or higher, but for utility companies this may not be realistic due to the regulated nature of their industry. Regulated utilities allow for a more reliable income stream, but it can be difficult to get consistent high dividend growth from these companies over the long term. A good example would be Fortis Inc. which has a 5 year average annual dividend growth

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