Electric Light & Power names Southern Company Utility of the Year

Jan 28, 2013, 09:30 ET from Southern Company

ATLANTA, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Electric Light & Power magazine has designated Southern Company its Utility of the Year for the company's demonstrated leadership in the electric utility industry in 2012. Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning accepted the award yesterday at the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference in San Diego.

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"Southern Company's success is a direct result of a business model predicated on putting our customers at the center of everything we do," said Fanning. "This recognition is a testament to the 26,000 hard-working employees who put our customers' interests first while providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable power."

Electric Light & Power recognized Southern Company as the top utility for its outstanding performance in market capitalization, innovation, construction, job creation and customer satisfaction.

Southern Company has committed $20 billion toward securing America's energy future through the development of the full portfolio of energy resources – new nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency. This investment is estimated to create around a quarter of a million jobs in the Southeast. As part of its commitment to developing the full portfolio, Southern Company, through subsidiary Georgia Power, is leading the nation's nuclear renaissance by being the first to build new nuclear units in more than 30 years with the construction of Plant Vogtle units 3 & 4 in Georgia.

The only company in the U.S. energy industry today committed to robust, proprietary research and development, Southern Company is conducting cutting-edge research at the nation's only carbon-capture research center, as well as the nation's only mercury research center associated with power generation. In addition, Southern Company has found a way forward for coal in America with the development of Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™), a 21st century coal technology that uses an abundant, low-cost fuel – low-rank coal – to generate electricity with efficient operations and reduced emissions. TRIG will be used in Southern Company subsidiary Mississippi Power's 582-megawatt (MW) Kemper County energy facility.

As a result of its customer-focused approach, all four of Southern Company's operating companies rank in the top quartile among U.S. utilities for customer satisfaction, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Customer Value Benchmark Studies and TQS Key Accounts National Benchmark. Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, strives to put a face on the company in every community it serves. This includes operating 260 local offices across their service territories, making it possible for virtually any customer to walk into one of the company's offices and receive in-person service from a local representative. As part of the company's commitment to improving the communities it serves, thousands of company employees and retirees dedicate more than 200,000 hours annually to community service.

With 4.4 million customers and more than 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast through its subsidiaries. A leading U.S. producer of clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for energy innovation, excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company and its subsidiaries are leading the nation's nuclear renaissance through the construction of the first new nuclear units to be built in a generation of Americans and are demonstrating their commitment to energy innovation through development of a state-of-the-art coal gasification plant. Southern Company has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer and listed by DiversityInc as a top company for Blacks. The company received the 2012 Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute for its leadership in new nuclear development, was named Platts' 2011 Power Company of the Year and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:

Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning capital expenditures and job creation. Southern Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry, implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, environmental laws including regulation of water, coal combustion byproducts, and emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, carbon, soot, particulate matter, hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, and other substances, financial reform legislation, and also changes in tax and other laws and regulations to which Southern Company and its subsidiaries are subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries, including the pending Environmental Protection Agency civil actions against certain Southern Company subsidiaries, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission matters, and Internal Revenue Service and state tax audits; the effects, extent, and timing of the entry of additional competition in the markets in which Southern Company's subsidiaries operate; variations in demand for electricity, including those relating to weather, the general economy and recovery from the recent recession, population and business growth (and declines), the effects of energy conservation measures, and any potential economic impacts resulting from federal fiscal and budgetary decisions; available sources and costs of fuels; effects of inflation; ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities, which includes projects involving facility designs that have not been finalized or previously constructed; investment performance of Southern Company's employee benefit plans and nuclear decommissioning trust funds; advances in technology; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations, including rate actions relating to fuel and other cost recovery mechanisms; regulatory approvals and actions related to the Plant Vogtle expansion, including Georgia Public Service Commission approvals, Nuclear Regulatory Commission actions, and potential U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees; regulatory approvals and actions related to the Kemper County integrated coal gasification combined cycle facility, including Mississippi Public Service Commission approvals, potential U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees, the South Mississippi Electric Power Association purchase decision, satisfaction of requirements to utilize investment tax credits and grants, and the outcome of any further proceedings regarding the Mississippi Public Service Commission's issuance of the certificate of public convenience and necessity; the performance of projects undertaken by the non-utility businesses and the success of efforts to invest in and develop new opportunities; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Southern Company or its subsidiaries; the ability of counterparties of Southern Company and its subsidiaries to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; the ability to obtain new short- and long-term contracts with wholesale customers; the direct or indirect effect on the Southern Company system's business resulting from terrorist incidents and the threat of terrorist incidents, including cyber intrusion; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts, including Southern Company's and its subsidiaries' credit ratings; the impacts of any potential U.S. credit rating downgrade or other sovereign financial issues, including impacts on interest rates, access to capital markets, impacts on currency exchange rates, counterparty performance, and the economy in general, as well as potential impacts on the availability or benefits of proposed U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees; the ability of Southern Company and its subsidiaries to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, hurricanes, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; the direct or indirect effects on the Southern Company system's business resulting from incidents affecting the U.S. electric grid or operation of generating resources; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard setting bodies. Southern Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.

SOURCE Southern Company