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The utilities sector encompasses just about every different type of utility company you can think of. Within the sector, you'll find utilities specializing in making electrical power available to residential and commercial customers, as well as specialists in natural gas transmission and distribution. Other utilities are responsible for delivering water to customers. Some utility companies engage in more than one of these different subspecialties. In addition, independent producers of power and renewable electricity also land in the utilities sector, even though they don't exactly resemble the traditional regulated utility in an era of deregulation.

Utilities tend to be regional in scope, so you might have heard of Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) in the Southeast U.S., Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED) in the Northeast, and American Electric Power (NASDAQ:AEP) across much of the Ohio Valley and the Southern Plains states.

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