Environmental Responsibility

Environmental Responsibility

Forecasting Growth

We focus on providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity. Integral to this mission is knowledge of our market and the demand for electricity. We forecast economic growth to ensure that we have the generation and transmission equipment and skilled employees needed to provide reliable and affordable electricity in our southeastern U.S. markets.

This section details how we will meet forecasts through diversifying fuel optionsRenewable Resourceschampioning energy efficiency and new nuclear plants.

A key performance indicator for previous performance in meeting forecasts is equivalent forced outage rate. This rate indicates the likelihood of forced outages. For peak season, we rank in the top quartile, well above industry averages, and have led our industry peers for eight of the last ten years. See Equivalent Forced Outage Rate »

  • Generation — Over the next five years, Southern Company's traditional operating companies plan to add approximately 3,500 megawatts of new capacity, including 1,900 megawatts from renewable resources such as solar, wind and biomass, 1,000 megawatts from new nuclear and 500 megawatts of 21st century clean coal. These additions represent the company's commitment to invest in long-term fuel diversity. In addition, our wholesale subsidiary, Southern Power, has added or announced more than 2,400 megawatts of capacity from renewable resources and over 1,400 megawatts of natural gas capacity since 2010.
  • Transmission and Distribution — Since 2000, we have invested approximately $16.9 billion to upgrade and expand our transmission and distribution infrastructure. Over the next three years, we plan to invest more than $4.3 billion to help ensure that we maintain our high level of reliability and keep electricity flowing to the increasing number of customers in our region.

Legislative and Regulatory Participation

Forecasting and planning go hand in hand with participation in the legislative and regulatory process, especially related to proposed laws or rules that impact our customers and shareholders. In addition to working with state and local legislators and policy-makers, we maintain an office and staff in Washington, D.C., to interact with Congress and with agencies including:

  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Defense
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of Homeland Security

We use outside firms to assist our efforts and support coalitions and trade organizations that engage in lobbying activities. Expenses associated with operating our Washington office in 2015 were about $12.86 million. We also participate in the regulatory process through industry groups and committees to communicate our positions. These groups and committees include the Utility Air Regulatory Group, the Utility Water Act Group, the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, Edison Electric Institute and the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Political contributions to organizations can be found in the political contribution report.

Southern Company sponsors political action committees that make contributions to candidates for public office using funds voluntarily donated by employees. This money is contributed to candidates of various parties, other political action committees and political organizations such as the Republican and Democratic national committees. Information on Political Action Committee federal contributions is publicly available through the Federal Elections Commission at www.fec.gov.

Top Electricity Generation Challenges Facing Southern Company

  • Meeting demand with clean, efficient, and reliable generation
  • Reducing demand growth through energy efficiency programs
  • Finding practical renewable options for our region
  • Expanding nuclear generation
  • Developing and implementing clean energy technologies