Generations 2012 Annual Report
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Innovation Video 1

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Innovation Video 2

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Wendell Willkie could be forgiven if he was not an avid fan of federally managed public power in the 1930s. As president of Southern Company predecessor Commonwealth & Southern, he fell into a very natural disagreement with President Franklin Roosevelt over the issue of electric utility ownership.

Strictly speaking, Willkie didn’t win that battleportions of the company’s territory were
eventually ceded to the newly formed Tennessee Valley Authority. But he did manage to
protect the interests of customers by arguing vigorously about the benefits of investor-owned

utilities and helping to turn the tide of public opinion in their favor. His efforts helped ensure that public and private power entities would have the ability to compete fairly in the marketplace, and that customers would reap the rewards of that competition.

From its earliest days, Southern Company has spoken on behalf of customers at all levels of government, advocating practical concepts and common sense solutions. By debating openly and engaging constructively, we have worked to ensure that all sides are heard on the issues most important to our industry and the people and businesses it serves. It’s a privilege and an honor to participate in that processand a responsibility we take very seriously.


Enter the halls of government today, and you’ll find a variety of groups representeda melting pot of diverse ideas and opinions, all vying for the attention of elected and appointed representatives. As they have been for decades, Southern Company employees are a part of this mix, speaking on behalf of utility customers in their quest to ensure an abundant supply of clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity.

On any given day, we might be interacting with city officials as they debate a local tax issue. Or we might be consulting with state utility commission members as they consider a new rate mechanism. Or we might be providing input at the federal level, where legislators and regulators make far-reaching decisions on everything from environmental rules to cyber security.

We do a lot of listeningto customers, to learn their needs and concerns, and also to advocacy groups, who often articulate alternative points of view. Along the way, we offer our knowledge and experience, and work to introduce common sense solutions that take the needs of multiple constituencies into account.

An important part of that effort is our support for building a national energy policy that consists of two components: A truly diverse generation mix that utilizes all available sourcesincluding new nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiencyand an emphasis on energy innovation through proprietary research and development. In ways large and small, we are working to ensure these outcomes, all for the benefit of the customers we serve.

PICTURED: External Affairs Director Stoney Burke works with members of the federal government, helping them better understand the needs and interests of customers in the service territories of the Southern Company system. Cheri Collins, nuclear development director, spends much of her time with community groups, gathering input and answering questions about the construction of new nuclear units at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtleinformation that can then be shared with government decision-makers.



President Franklin Roosevelt (seated) creates the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Thus begins an intense public debate over which is better for customersfederally operated public power or investor-owned private power. Leading the argument for private ownership is Commonwealth & Southern (C&S) president Wendell Willkie.



Roosevelt proposes the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), a potential “death sentence” for companies like C&S. Once again, Wendell Willkie is the lead voice for his industry, intent upon preserving for customers the efficiencies of holding company ownership.



Willkie brokers a deal to sell all C&S holdings in Tennesseeas well as portions of Alabama and Mississippito TVA. In exchange, the federal agency provides assurances that it will make no attempt to further encroach upon C&S franchised service areas.



Rapid economic growth means higher costs for utilities, and thus higher electric rates for customers. Alabama governor George Wallace becomes a vocal critic of Alabama Power, and company President Joe Farley (pictured) stands strong against a very public onslaught from the legendary politician.



Environmentalists engage in heated public debate over so-called “acid rain,” proposing prohibitively expensive legislation to control power plant emissions. Southern Company Chairman Ed Addison (seated, second from right) argues for more scientific research and emerges as an industry leader on environmental issues.



An update of the landmark 1970 legislation is signed into law, with provisions for reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. Southern Company Chairman Ed Addison helps ensure that utility industry input is considered before the final bill is enacted.



Houston-based Enron is the darling of Wall Street, and pressure is exerted on the industry to adopt a similar strategic path. Southern Company resists these overtures and is vindicated when Enron collapses during one of the worst corporate scandals in U.S. history.



Southern Company Chairman Allen Franklin is a major presence in Washington during debates over possible industry restructuring. Franklin’s primary concern is the potential for legislation that could unnecessarily increase electric rates for customers.



The Environmental Protection Agency proposes new rules for limiting power plant emissions, and once again Southern Company is at the tablespeaking out against overreaching regulation and urging Congress to take charge of the nation’s energy policy debate.



Today, Southern Company is leading the call for a national energy policy that includes a fully diverse U.S. generation portfoliowith new nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiencyand an investment in energy innovation through research and development.

Wendell Willkie accepts payment from TVA officials for C&S properties.


External Affairs
5 years of service


Nuclear Development
30 years of service