|Traded as||NYSE: SO
S&P 500 Component
|Headquarters||Atlanta, Georgia, USA|
|Area served||Alabama Power: central & southern Alabama
Georgia Power: Georgia
Gulf Power: Florida Panhandle
Mississippi Power: southeastern Mississippi
|Key people||Thomas A. Fanning, President and Chief Executive Officer,
Art P. Beattie, Chief Financial Officer
Anthony J. Topazi, Chief Operating Officer
|Revenue||$17.46 billion USD (2010)|
|Net income||$1.64 billion USD (2009)|
Southern Company is an American electric utility holding company based in southern United States. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with executive offices also located in Birmingham, Alabama. The company is currently the 16th largest utility company in the world and the fourth largest in the U.S. Through its subsidiaries it owns and operates more than 42,000 megawatts of generation capacity and serves 4.3 million customers in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi. Southern Company’s regulated regional electric utilities serve a 120,000-square-mile (310,000 km2) territory with 27,000 miles (43,000 km) of distribution lines.
Southern Company is one of the largest producers of electricity in the United States and 149th on the Fortune 500 listing of the largest U. S. corporations. It has more than 500,000 shareholders (NYSE: SO) and has been traded since September 30, 1949.
Currently, Southern Company is building the first new nuclear units in the U.S. in 30 years at Plant Vogtle near Augusta, Georgia; building one of the largest photovoltaic plants in the U.S. at Cimarron, New Mexico; building one of the largest biomass plants at Nacogdoches, Texas; and installing over four million smart meters by 2012.
Four retail electric companies: Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power, serve 120,000 square miles (310,000 km2) in four states. Southern Power serves wholesale customers in the Southeast.
Southern Company owns the following companies:
- Alabama Power - Operating Company - Birmingham, Alabama
- Georgia Power - Operating Company - Atlanta, Georgia
- Gulf Power - Operating Company - Pensacola, Florida
- Mississippi Power - Operating Company - Gulfport, Mississippi
- Southern Company Energy Solutions - Common Services - Atlanta, Georgia
- Southern Company Services - (originally named Southern Services, Inc.) - Birmingham, Alabama - Common Services
- SouthernLINC Wireless - Cellular Telephone Provider - Atlanta, Georgia
- Southern Nuclear - Engineering and Operations for Nuclear Power Plants - Birmingham, Alabama - (Southern Company is the majority owner and operator of the Farley, Hatch, and Vogtle nuclear power plants.)
- Southern Company Generation - Fossil and Hydro Operations - Birmingham, Alabama
- Southern Power - Wholesale Generation - Atlanta, Georgia
- Southern Telecom - Wholesale Fiber Optic Communications and Data Services - Atlanta, Georgia
Southern Company can be traced back to the mid-1920s, when Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power became an interconnected system under a holding company known as Southeastern Power & Light. In 1930, Southeastern Power & Light merged into the Commonwealth & Southern Corporation to form a system that included five Northern companies and six Southern companies. However, in the late 1940s Commonwealth & Southern was dissolved to meet the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. Four of the Southern companies—Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power—were deemed to be an integrated system and thus were allowed to remain under common ownership, this time under a new holding company—Southern Company. The new holding company was incorporated in Delaware on November 9, 1945 and moved to Georgia in 1950. The year 1949 saw Southern Company's first full year of operation. In 1954-55, the company was involved in the Dixon-Yates contract with the Atomic Energy Commission, and the associated political controversy.
In 1981, Southern Company became the first electric utility holding company in 46 years to diversify its operations by forming an unregulated subsidiary. In January 1982, Southern Energy, Inc., began official operations as a global energy company, growing to serve 10 countries on four continents. On April 2, 2001, Southern Company completed the spinoff of Southern Energy as Mirant Corporation.
Another Southern Company subsidiary—Southern Nuclear—began providing services in 1991 to the system's nuclear power plants.
In 1996, Southern Communications Services began providing digital wireless communications services to Southern Company's subsidiaries and also began marketing these services to the public within the Southeast as Southern LINC. Southern Telecom, a telecommunications subsidiary of Southern Company was founded in 1997. Southern Telecom provides colocation and dark fiber optic lines to network businesses.
On January 9, 2001, Southern Company received final approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to form Southern Power, a subsidiary to own, manage and finance wholesale generating assets in the Southeast. The new subsidiary targets wholesale customers.
On July 19, 2002, Southern Company Gas received certification from the Georgia Public Service Commission to enter the retail gas market. After nearly four years of operations, the company was sold and customers transferred to Cobb EMC's newly formed affiliate, Gas South.
Southern Company subsidiaries operate hydroelectric, gas, coal, and nuclear generation sources to generate approximately 200 terawatt-hours of electricity. In 2009, coal represented 57 percent of the company's output, followed by nuclear (23%) and natural gas (16%). Renewable hydroelectric power represented 4 percent of Southern's generation. Coal-based generation dropped significantly in 2009 from an average of 70% between 2005 and 2008.
In June 2010, the United States Department of Energy awarded an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to facilitate the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, Georgia. A Southern Company subsidiary, Georgia Power, owns 45.7% of the current 2,430 MW facility, with co-owners Oglethorpe Power (30%) Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7%) and the City of Dalton (1.6%). The plant is operated by Georgia Power. The $14 billion construction project is scheduled to be completed by 2016 and would double the plant's capacity.
The construction of two 1,154 MW reactors has been hailed by Energy Secretary Steven Chu as "the first new nuclear power plant to break ground in decades". It is expected to create up to 3,500 jobs during the construction phase, and 800 once operational.
As a coal-burning energy company, greenhouse gas emissions are a primary environmental concern. According to a 2007 study conducted by the Center for Global Development, the Southern Company is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the U.S. utility industry, with an annual tally of 172 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.
In response to growing public and financial community interest the company has enacted both corrective and palliative environmental measures.
Southern Company has installed $7.5 billion in environmental controls with plans to spend additional $2.4 billion through 2012 to further reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury.
Additionally, the company has developed TRIG advanced coal gasification technology which turns coal into gas that can be used to generate electricity with less emissions than traditional coal-fired power plants. Southern Company’s Kemper project in Mississippi will be the only Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant in the U.S. that will capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from commercial operations starting in 2014.
Southern Company is building one of the largest all-biomass plants in the nation. The company expects the 100-megawatt Nacogdoches Generating Facility to serve the city of Austin for 20 years.
In partnership with Turner Renewable Energy, the company is building one of the largest solar photovoltaic plants in the U.S. near Cimarron, New Mexico. The 30-megawatt project will supply power to approximately 9,000 homes.
The company manages and operates the National Carbon Capture Center, a focal point of U.S. Department of Energy's efforts to develop carbon capture and greenhouse gas reduction technologies, under which various projects to test geologic sequestration are in progress at Plant Gorgas in Alabama, Plant Daniel in Mississippi and other company sites.
Southern Company participates in Renew Our Rivers, a volunteer program to remove debris from rivers and other waterways throughout the Southeast, which claims over 11 million pounds of trash removed or recycled in Renew Our Rivers events.
Coal-burning (whether direct or via gassification) energy production continues to be an environmental concern, and Southern Company continues to produce large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions as part of its day-to-day operations. Although the company cites measurable reduced emissions, concerned environmentalists may not consider any reduction short of zero emissions to be a success.
- Southern Company. "Management Council". Retrieved 2020-09-21.
- Southern Company. "Southern Company Facts and Figures". Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- Southern Company (2010-01-27). "Southern Company Reports Solid Earnings for a Challenging 2009". Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- Southern Company. "Demographics". Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- "The World's Biggest Public Companies - Utilities". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- Southern Company. "Megawatts and Markets". Retrieved 2010-09-21.[dead link]
- "Southern Company Energy Solutions" Energy User News 1 August 2002
- Southern Company (2010). "Corporate Responsibility Report Data Summary". Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- Markiewicz, David (2010-02-10). "Vogtle nuclear plant near Augusta gets federal loan guarantee". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Pavey, Rob (2010-02-16). "Feds back two new reactors at Plant Vogtle". Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, GA). Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- MacDonald, Lawrence (2007-11-14). "CGD ranks CO2 emissions from power plants worldwide". Center for Global Development. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- AMEC contractor report
- Gulf Power site description
- Mercury Research Center (pdf)
- The Meridian Star: Mississippi Power breaks ground on Kemper County IGCC power plant
- Mother Nature Network
- Solar Industries Industry Association report (pdf)
- US DOE Press Release
- Renew Our Rivers website
- DOE guarantee press info
- PR Newswire release
- Southern Company Media Room
- Southern Company official site
- Forbes Global 2000 Biggest Companies Utility Industry