As a retiree, you are likely looking for a steady income stream to supplement your Social Security payments. Dividend-paying stocks would be the right choice for you in such a case. You could spread out your investments among stocks that generate attractive dividend income, such as Enterprise Products Partners (EPD -0.55%) and TC Energy (TRP -0.31%), and those that generate slightly lower yield income but can be handy should you need to liquidate your position on short notice. Utilities, such as Southern Company (SO -0.24%), fit the bill here. Let's discuss why these three stocks could be great additions to your portfolio.

Enterprise Products Partners

If you are looking for conservatively managed companies in the energy sector, Enterprise Products Partners would surely be among the top names. Structured as a master limited partnership, Enterprise Products operates in the midstream segment of the energy sector. It stores and transports oil, gas, and natural gas liquids, and also processes gas and NGLs. It is also involved in the import and export of these commodities.

Enterprise Products Partners largely generates stable, fee-based cash flows for its services. This has allowed it to grow its distribution (MLP-speak for dividend) for 23 consecutive years.


EPD EBITDA (TTM) data by YCharts

As the above graph shows, Enterprise Products Partners' earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or EBITDA, has risen steadily over the years. At the same time, it has maintained a conservative debt-to-EBITDA ratio. This ratio has routinely been one of the lowest among its peers. The stock is currently trading at a higher yield than its historical levels.

Enterprise Products stock may experience some volatility in line with crude oil prices. But it offers a solid yield of more than 8% and can be a great long-term buy for your dividend portfolio.

TC Energy

Canadian energy company TC Energy has raised its dividend for 21 years in a row. It also operates in the midstream energy segment and is involved mainly in the transport of oil and gas. The capacity on TC Energy's liquids pipeline, which transports oil from Canada's oil sands to refineries along the Gulf Coast, finds robust demand. That's because of the limited takeaway capacity from the region as well as TC Energy's competitive pricing.

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The rates on TC Energy's natural gas pipelines are regulated, which allows it to generate utility-type cash flows from these assets. The company has a projects pipeline of roughly 21 billion Canadian dollars. It expects to complete these projects through 2025. That should help it to grow its dividend by its targeted range of 5% to 7% in the medium term. TC Energy stock offers a yield of 5.5% as of this writing. Overall, adding this stock to your portfolio is a fantastic idea.

Southern Company

It is always prudent to allocate a portion of your portfolio to low-beta stocks. Beta is a measure of a stock's volatility relative to the broader market. A beta above 1 shows that the stock is more volatile than the market. Southern Company's five-year beta is 0.4, which indicates that the company's stock is much less volatile than the broader market. What's more, the stock offers a decent dividend yield of 3.9%. Southern Company has maintained or increased its dividend every quarter for more than 70 years. 

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Image source: Getty Images.

Southern Company continues to post largely stable results quarter after quarter. In the second quarter, it reported adjusted per share earnings of $0.84 compared to $0.78 per share in the year-ago quarter. The growth was driven by higher retail sales, strong customer growth, and new investments. Southern Company targets long-term earnings growth of 5% to 7%. 

The construction of Southern Company's much-delayed Vogtle nuclear power plant is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023. Despite the delays and cost overruns, the project does not impact the attractiveness of this top utility stock.