I have long lived by a rule never to give investment advice. Today, we’re going to break that, because I’ve discovered what may be the surest-fire investment around.
It’s right under our noses: Roanoke Gas.
What is Casey smoking? you may be wondering.
The gas company that heats my house? The boring quiet utility we almost never hear about it? New homes in Roanoke aren’t exactly spouting like mushrooms in a damp spring. So it’s doubtful the gas company is growing much either.
On all of those counts you would be correct. But you also would be missing a key point.
In the great, capitalist, risk-brings-reward economy of the United States of America, there’s a Virginia law that practically guarantees monopolies such as Roanoke Gas make a profit.
Let me say that again: guarantees.
Roanoke Gas can’t lose like the farmer who plants corn and then says a silent prayer against a summer drought.
Or a residential landlord who has trouble collecting rents from salt-of-the Earth tenants who’ve lost their jobs in a flagging economy.
Roughly 60 percent of new restaurants go belly up within three years. Have you ever heard of that happening to a gas company? Not in Virginia. (Electric utility profits are guaranteed, too).
We got another reminder of this last week, in a big honking ad in this newspaper that was crammed with fine print. It was an announcement that Roanoke Gas is asking the State Corporation Commission for another rate increase, about $1.78 per month per household.