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The Southern Company

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2019 Vault Rankings

At a Glance

Uppers

Great work environment, which offers stable employment, good benefits, and good work/life balance

Downers

Flexible work arrangements like telecommuting are rarely allowed

The Bottom Line

Southern Company offers stability, competitive pay, a pension, and 9-to-5 hours for most of its employees.

About The Southern Company

Southern Company owns and operates regulated utilities Alabama Power, Georgia Power, and Mississippi Power, and Southern Power, which combined have a generating capacity of almost 42,000 MW and serve nearly 4.3 million electricity customers in the southeastern US. Through its Southern Company Gas subsidiary, the utility also distributes natural gas through more than 75,500 miles of pipeline to about 4.5 million customers in four states. Its energy sources include natural gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables.

Operations

Southern Company has three business segments: Traditional Electric Operating Companies (TEOCs), Southern Company Gas, and Southern Power. The TEOCs generate about 70% of revenue, while Southern Company Gas contributes over 15%. Southern Power accounts for nearly 10% of revenue and other businesses generate the remainder.

The TEOCs' regulated utility companies own generation, transmission, and distribution facilities that provide electricity to several Southeastern states. The companies include Alabama Power, Georgia Power, and Mississippi Power.

Southern Company Gas stores and distributes natural gas through its some 15 storage facilities (which have a total capacity of roughly 160 billion cubic feet) and more than 75,500 miles of pipelines.

Southern Power constructs, acquires, owns, and manages power generation assets and sells electricity in the wholesale market. It typically pursues long-term power purchase agreements.

Of its own generated power, just over 45% comes from natural gas; coal and nuclear provide roughly 20% and almost 15%, respectively. The rest comes from hydro power and other sources and purchased power.

The Southern Company owns or operates approximately 30 hydroelectric power plants, about 25 fossil fuel generating stations, three nuclear power plants, around a dozen combined cycle/cogeneration stations, more than 40 solar facilities, nearly 10 wind farms, one fuel cell facility, and one battery storage facility.

Geographic Reach

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Southern Company's electric service territory encompasses more than 115,000 square miles and an estimated population of 16 million people. It supplies electric service to most of Alabama and Georgia and the southeastern portion of Mississippi. However, its impact is felt beyond its direct service area because the power generated by its facilities is sold to non-affiliated distribution systems, and its Southern Power unit sells to investor-owned utilities, municipalities, and electric cooperatives outside its territory.

Through its Southern Company Gas unit, the business serves about 4.5 million customers in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee.

Sales and Marketing

Southern Company clients include retail electrical and gas customers, wholesale electric and gas purchasers, and owners of non-affiliated electric distribution systems. The retail business is its largest, accounting for almost 65% of all revenue (about 65% electricity, nearly 20% gas), with residential electric customers contributing some 30%. Commercial electric clients provide around 25%; wholesale electric sales represent roughly 10%. Southern Company sells electricity at market-based rates in the wholesale market, primarily to investor-owned utilities, municipalities, electric cooperatives, and other load serving entities.

Financial Performance

The Southern Company's revenue has been continuously increasing over the past five years. Between 2015 and 2019, the company's revenue increased by 22% to $21.4 billion. The company's revenue decreased by 8% to $21.4 billion in 2019.

Net income attributable to Southern Company was $4.7 billion in 2019, an increase of $2.5 billion, or about 113%, from the prior year. The increase was primarily due to the gain on the sale of Gulf Power in 2019 and charge in the second quarter of 2018 for an estimated probable loss related to Georgia Power's construction of Plant Vogtle.

End of year cash in 2019 was $2.0 billion, up by 30% compared to $1.5 billion in 2018. Operating activities provided $6.0 billion, while investing activities used $3.4 billion, primarily from additions of property. Financing activities used $1.9 billion mainly for payment of common stock dividends and redemptions and repurchases — short-term borrowings.

Strategy

Subject to the volatility of energy markets, Southern Company regularly evaluates demand for its services in its existing and new geographic markets. It acquires and disposes of businesses and assets and enters joint development agreements to modulate operations according to market forces.

The Southern Company system intends to continue its strategy of developing and constructing new electric generating facilities, expanding and improving the electric transmission and electric and natural gas distribution systems, and undertaking projects to comply with environmental laws and regulations. These projects are long term in nature and in some cases may include the development and construction of facilities with designs that have not been finalized or previously constructed.

The Southern Company system intends to continue its strategy of developing and constructing new electric generating facilities, expanding and improving the electric transmission and electric and natural gas distribution systems, and undertaking projects to comply with environmental laws and regulations. Southern Power also invested in a utility-scale fuel cell generator project in Delaware with Bloom Energy. Building on a 2016 alliance between the companies which has developed more than 80 MW of fuel cells throughout the US, the partners will repower fuel cells in New Castle and Newark comprising 30 MW of Bloom Energy servers.

In early 2020, Southern Power completed the sale of its equity interests in Plant Mankato (including the 385-MW expansion unit completed in May 2019) to a subsidiary of Xcel for a purchase price of approximately $663 million, including estimated working capital adjustments.

During 2019, Southern Power completed construction and achieved commercial operation of the 100-MW Wildhorse Mountain wind facility, and continued construction of the 200-MW Reading wind facility.

In early 2019, Southern Company completed its sale of Gulf Power to NextEra Energy for an aggregate cash purchase price of approximately $5.8 billion (less $1.3 billion of indebtedness assumed). Gulf Power is an electric utility serving retail customers in the northwestern portion of Florida.

In mid-2019, Southern Power completed the sale of its equity interests in Plant Nacogdoches, a 115-MW biomass facility located in Nacogdoches County, Texas, to Austin Energy, for a purchase price of approximately $461 million, including working capital adjustments.

In late 2018, Southern Power completed the sale of all of its equity interests in the Florida Plants to NextEra Energy for $203 million, including working capital adjustments. In contemplation of this sale transaction, Southern Power recorded an asset impairment charge of approximately $119 million ($89 million after tax) in May 2018.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In mid-2020, a subsidiary of Southern Company completed its 13th wind project, the 56-megawatt Beech Ridge II Wind Facility, a leading developer, owner and operator of sustainable energy solutions from Invenergy.

In late 2019, a subsidiary of Southern Company completed its 12th wind project, the 136-megawatt Skookumchuck Wind Facility from Renewable Energy Systems.

The Southern Company

30 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW STE 1407
Atlanta, GA 30308-3008
Phone: 1 (404) 506-5000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: SO
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
EVP and CFO: Art P. Beattie
Chairman, President, and CEO: Thomas A. Fanning
EVP and COO: Kimberly S. Greene
Employees (This Location): 141
Employees (All Locations): 27,943

Major Office Locations

Atlanta, GA

Other Locations

Abbeville, AL
Aliceville, AL
Anniston, AL
Atmore, AL
Attalla, AL
Auburn, AL
Bay Minette, AL
Bayou La Batre, AL
Bessemer, AL
Birmingham, AL
Blountsville, AL
Bucks, AL
Calera, AL
Camden, AL
Carbon Hill, AL
Centre, AL
Childersburg, AL
Citronelle, AL
Clanton, AL
Columbia, AL
Dadeville, AL
Dora, AL
Eufaula, AL
Eutaw, AL
Fayette, AL
Florala, AL
Forkland, AL
Gadsden, AL
Geneva, AL
Goodwater, AL
Haleyville, AL
Heflin, AL
Jackson, AL
Jasper, AL
Leesburg, AL
Mobile, AL
Monroeville, AL
Montgomery, AL
Northport, AL
Ohatchee, AL
Oneonta, AL
Ozark, AL
Parrish, AL
Pelham, AL
Pell City, AL
Prattville, AL
Prichard, AL
Quinton, AL
Ragland, AL
Roanoke, AL
Salem, AL
Saraland, AL
Selma, AL
Sylacauga, AL
Talladega, AL
Tallassee, AL
Theodore, AL
Tuscaloosa, AL
Union Springs, AL
Valley, AL
Verbena, AL
Vincent, AL
Wetumpka, AL
Wilsonville, AL
York, AL
Stamford, CT
Cantonment, FL
Chipley, FL
Fort Walton Beach, FL
Lynn Haven, FL
Milton, FL
Orlando, FL
Panama City, FL
Pensacola, FL
Sneads, FL
Tallahassee, FL
Albany, GA
Americus, GA
Athens, GA
Atlanta, GA
Bainbridge, GA
Baxley, GA
Brunswick, GA
Canton, GA
Carrollton, GA
Cartersville, GA
Cedartown, GA
Clarkesville, GA
Conyers, GA
Cornelia, GA
Eatonton, GA
Fayetteville, GA
Forest Park, GA
Fort Gaines, GA
Fortson, GA
Hartwell, GA
Jackson, GA
Jasper, GA
Jesup, GA
Jonesboro, GA
Juliette, GA
Kennesaw, GA
Lakemont, GA
Lawrenceville, GA
Lithonia, GA
Macon, GA
Madison, GA
Manchester, GA
Marietta, GA
Mcdonough, GA
Milledgeville, GA
Newnan, GA
Norcross, GA
Riverdale, GA
Rockmart, GA
Rome, GA
Savannah, GA
Smyrna, GA
Snellville, GA
Statesboro, GA
Tallulah Falls, GA
Tucker, GA
Union City, GA
Valdosta, GA
Vidalia, GA
Waycross, GA
Waynesboro, GA
Carthage, IL
Crystal Lake, IL
Glen Ellyn, IL
Joliet, IL
Kankakee, IL
Lincolnshire, IL
Mendota, IL
Naperville, IL
Ottawa, IL
Erath, LA
Lafayette, LA
Mankato, MN
Bay Saint Louis, MS
Escatawpa, MS
Forest, MS
Gulfport, MS
Hattiesburg, MS
Lucedale, MS
Meridian, MS
Sumrall, MS
Princeton, NC
Salisbury, NC
Buffalo, NY
Memphis, TN
Houston, TX
Newport News, VA
Norfolk, VA
Kirkland, WA