However, Burks pointed out that while higher rates may look like a headwind, recent history shows it doesn't mean the sector will underperform.
During the last period of higher rates, from mid-2004 through mid-2006, the Federal Reserve raised rates 16 times, and electrics actually outperformed the S&P 500 "by a fairly wide margin," he said.
The electrics didn't begin to significantly underperform until the Fed funds rate passed the yield of the average electric, he added, noting that the current Fed funds rate is 0.25 percent and the yield on the average electric utility company is 3.9 percent.
Read More First rate hike now likely in August: CNBC Fed Survey
Travis Miller, director of utilities equity research with Morningstar, believes the sector's short-term performance will continue to reflect interest rate movements, but said investors willing to hold utilities two years or more can get strong absolute returns.
"Absolute returns are going to stay in that 8 to 9 percent, most likely, regardless what interest rates do over the next 2 to 3 years," he told "Power Lunch."
"If you look at utilities investors who are buy and hold type of investors, you still have good yields out there relative to the Treasurys, and you still have good balance sheets, good dividend growth out there and absolute returns look really good."
While Miller still thinks the sector is 4 percent overvalued, he said the big drop in utilities has made some regulated names attractive.
Miller's picks include Southern Company, which he said has come down "substantially" and is now trading a discount, Duke Energy and ITC Holdings.
Read MoreDeath cross: 20 stocks showing a vicious pattern
Burks's favorite income pick is PPL. The 4.6 percent dividend yield is above the industry average of 3.9 percent, and the stock is trading at a discount, he said.
His favorite growth pick is NextEra Energy, which he said is looking for above average earnings growth of 5 to 7 percent. Burks thinks that should support a dividend growth of 6 percent going forward.
He likes American Electric Power for total return.
—CNBC's Brenda Hentschel and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Disclosures: Burks, his firm and his family do not own PPL, NEE, AEP. Miller, his firm and his family do not own SO, DUK, ITC.