The Southern Company isn't just whistling Dixie. The holding company is one of the largest electricity distributors in the US. It operates regulated utilities Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power, which combined have a generating capacity of almost 46,000 MW and serve more than 4.4 million electricity customers in the southeastern US. Southern also has energy marketing operations, and it provides energy consulting and management services for businesses and institutions. Through its Southern LINC Wireless unit, it provides wireless communications services in its US utility territory; its Southern Telecom unit offers wholesale fiber-optic services.
Southern's regulated operating companies provide electric service to Alabama and Georgia as well as to the northwestern portion of Florida and southeastern Mississippi.
In 2012 the company owned and/or operated 33 hydroelectric power plants, 32 fossil fuel generating stations, three nuclear plants, and 13 combined cycle/cogeneration stations, four solar plants, one landfill gas facility, and one biomass plant.
The company's nonregulated energy sector activities include marketing excess energy from its retail plants. It is building competitive plants across the southeastern US through subsidiary Southern Power. At the end of 2012 this unit had more than 8,760 MW of generating capacity.
Southern's transmission assets include more than 27,000 miles of transmission lines, 3,700 electric substations, and 300,000 acres of right of way.
The company's revenues declined by 6% in 2012, mainly due to a decrease in wholesale revenues caused by reduced energy prices and lower customer demand.
Net income increased by more than 6% in 2012 as the result of an insurance recovery award of $19 million from a litigation settlement with MC Asset Recovery, LLC.
In keeping with the federal regulatory framework, which demands that utilities cut back on carbon emissions, Southern's Mississippi Power is building a 582-MW integrated gasification combined cycle power plant. One of the first advanced gasification generating facilities with carbon capture capabilities in the US, it is expected to become operational in 2014.
In 2012 Southern received government approval to begin construction on the first two new nuclear units in the US in 30 years, at subsidiary Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle, near Waynesboro.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Looking to grow its green generating capacity, in 2013 Southern Power acquired the 139 MW Campo Verde Solar Project from First Solar. It is Southern Power-Turner Renewable Energy partnership's fifth solar acquisition and its first solar project in California. The Campo Verde Solar Project will more than double Southern's solar capacity and will provide enough electricity to serve about 48,000 homes.