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Southern Company
Type Public (NYSESO)
Founded 1945
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Key people David M. Ratcliffe (CEO), Thomas A. Fanning (COO) and W. Paul Bowers (CFO)[1]
Industry Utilities
Revenue $15.4 billion USD (2007)
Net income $1.73 billion USD (2007)[2]
Employees 26,742 (2008)[3]

Southern Company (NYSESO) is a public utility holding company[4] of primarily electric utilities in the southern United States. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and is currently the 16th largest utility company in the world and the fourth largest in the U.S. [5] 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.[6] 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. [7]



Among Southern's highlights are its electricity rates, which are about 17 percent below the national average[8], and its quick response to storm damage repairs.

Recent issues which have cast Southern in a less positive light include its stance on global climate change and allegations of violating FERC's Standard of Conduct provisions. Southern Power, the company's wholesale electricity marketing subsidiary, has been accused of showing preferential treatment to Georgia Power Company, another Southern subsidiary, when bidding out wholesale contracts.[9] The company has agreed to pay a fine and strengthen the operational distance between its wholesale and retail companies.

Southern Company owns the following companies:


Southern Company's earliest predecessors date to the 1920s when Alabama Power, Georgia Power and Mississippi Power joined together under a holding company, Southeastern Power & Light. Following a merger and later breakup due to regulatory changes, in 1945 Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power came together as Southern Company.[11]


Foreign Expansion

In 1995, Southern Company subsidiary, Southern Electric International, bought the British South Western Electricity Board. This was the first purchase of a foreign power corporation by a US power corporation. Southern Elelctric International was spun-off in 2001 and became Mirant. However, in 2003, SWEB was sold to a French company, EDF Energy.

Generation facilities

Southern Company subsidiaries operate hydroelectric, oil/gas, coal, and nuclear generation sources. In 2006, total generation was distributed coal 70 percent, nuclear 15 percent, natural gas 13 percent, and renewable hydroelectric power 2 percent.[12]


The Center for Responsive Politics has criticized Southern Company for large partisan contributions by its employees coincidental to large greenhouse gas emissions.[13] In addition to such PAC contributions, in 2005 Southern Company itself was among 53 entities that contributed the maximum of $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.[14] [15] [16]

In response to growing public and financial community interest, in recent years the company has issued reports detailing environmental issues in which it is involved and the company's response to those issues such as incorporating emissions controls at generation facilities, funding research for carbon dioxide capture, and working to improve wildfile habitats through conservation groups such as National Wild Turkey Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Wildlife Habitat Council.[17] As given by the 2008 update on key company parameters[2], highlighted environmental actions include:

  • Investing $3.9 billion over the next three years to add additional environmental controls, which will further lower emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury.
  • Selected Plant Daniel in Mississippi as a test site for carbon dioxide geologic storage to learn if the technique can effectively reduce accumulations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • Opened the nation’s first mercury-controls technology research center in Florida.
  • Awarded 93 biodiversity and habitat improvement grants from 2003-2007 through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other partners.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Southern Company Facts and Figures
  3. ^ "Company Profile for Southern Co (SO)". Retrieved 2008-10-06.  
  4. ^ See in particular Public utility holding company
  5. ^
  6. ^ [1] Southern Company; Megawatts and Markets
  7. ^
  8. ^ [2] Southern Company Press Release; Southern Company reports steady third quarter earnings
  9. ^ FERC Docket #EL05-102-000
  10. ^ "Southern Company Energy Solutions" Energy User News 1 August 2002
  11. ^ [3] Southern Company; About Us; History
  12. ^ [4] Southern Company; Climate Change
  13. ^ Doyle, Leonard (2007-11-16). "US power company linked to Bush is named in database as a top polluter". The Independent ( Retrieved 2008-05-26.  
  14. ^ Drinkard, Jim (2005-01-17). "Donors get good seats, great access this week". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  15. ^ "Financing the inauguration". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  16. ^ "Some question inaugural's multi-million price tag". USA Today. 2005-01-14. Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  17. ^ [5] Southern Company; Planet Power

External links


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