Paul Tracy

They're some of the most reliable dividend-paying stocks on Earth.

Each one owns a virtual monopoly in its market, practically guaranteeing it will receive uninterrupted revenue for years to come.

Of course, I'm talking about utilities. Their stable demand and consistently high yields make utilities an undoubted favorite among income investors.

Though despite being wildly popular in the income universe, most people are missing out on the world's best opportunities in this sector...

But because they are utilities, investors think the stocks I'm about to tell you about carry too much risk. They've never heard of most of these companies, so they automatically dismiss them as speculative growth plays.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let me explain...

In past years, electric utilities like Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) have become extremely popular among income investors.

That's to be expected... the steady income offered by this corner of the market is unprecedented. On average, the typical U.S. utility stock yields 3.8% -- almost double the 2% dividend yield offered by the S&P.

But while I wouldn't sneeze at a 3.8% yield, it's only a fraction of what you can receive from this industry.