Managing usage is a great way to lower the cost of electric service. Setting the thermostat at 78 in the summer and 68 in the winter is a proven power-saver. Southern Company’s traditional operating companies work hard to educate customers on these and other tips through a variety of media, including television, print and Web.

Karen Columbus (left), senior residential energy consultant, inspects a kitchen air vent as part of an energy audit for Gulf Power customer Jodi Milliren of Pace, Fla.

A new monthly bill format helps customers better understand their usage patterns and billing history.

We manage operating costs by running the business as efficiently and effectively as possible, from the materials we buy to the systems we operate. We advocate on behalf of customers with state and federal governments to discourage laws and regulations that increase cost without adequate benefit for customers.

We also work directly with customers, helping them find better ways to control their usage. Our traditional operating companies have a multitude of programs – including energy audits for homes and businesses – that to date have reduced peak demand by more than 3,400 megawatts, or enough to power more than 850,000 homes. Since 2000, we’ve saved more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours, at a rate more than twice the industry average. And we’re investing $1 billion to lower demand an additional 1,000 megawatts by 2020, significantly offsetting future capacity needs. We’ve helped airports, seaports and other large customers save money by converting equipment from diesel to electric, and we continue to promote efficient technologies such as electric vehicles that operate for the gasoline equivalent of about $1 per gallon.