Analyst Report: Southern Company

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Southern Company is an electric and gas utility and wholesaler with 9 million customers and 41,000 megawatts of generating capacity. Its gas subsidiary also provides distribution and wholesale gas services. Retail electricity accounts for about 60% of revenue while natural gas operations account for about 25%. The company is based in Atlanta and provides natural gas to customers in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee, and owns regulated electric utilities in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Its largest utility, Georgia Power, accounts for about 40% of annual revenue. The company also offers digital wireless and fiber-optic services. SO’s current fuel mix is 52% gas, 17% coal, 16% nuclear, and 15% renewables. It is working to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, later than at some peers. The fuel mix will change once the company adds the last of its new nuclear reactors to its three existing nuclear units at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia. The company has faced rising costs and COVID-related delays with these reactors – the first U.S. nuclear units built in the last 30 years. Vogtle 3 became operational in July 2023 and Vogle 4 is expected to enter service in early 1Q24. The company also faced setbacks with its now written-off Kemper County ‘clean-coal’ plant, which resulted in more than $5.0 billion in cost overruns and damaged its reputation. In 2016, Southern Company Gas acquired AGL Resources’ gas infrastructure and LNG operations. SO shares are a component of the S&P 500. The company’s market cap is $74 billion.

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