Lines to Everyone. Southern Company COO Anthony Topazi discusses integrated resource planning to meet new regulations. Click to play
All of our operating companies do an integrated resource plan annually to determine what capacity may be needed, when it is needed, and what type of capacity will make for the best overall mix for the customer base. And so our plans are first and foremost around what is best for our customers. As we present it to the state regulators and receive approval to go forward and to construct new generation.
Certainly, there is a new wave of regulations that we've talked a lot about, air, water, ash, it's across the board, that will challenge us and will really make more difficult investment decisions that we have to make with regards to our coal fleet. And so that will be very important as we go forward, understanding those rules. We're seeking to have some certainty around not just one or two of the rules, but all of the rules, so we can make the best ultimate decision for our customers. It will be a challenge. It's not as simple as it was just a few years ago, but, again, I'm always optimistic about Southern and its employee's ability to make the right decisions and execute.
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.
A key performance indicator for previous performance in meeting forecasts is equivalent forced outage rate. This rate indicates the likelihood of forced outages that are not storm-related. We rank in the top quartile, well above industry averages, and have led our industry peers for six years running and eight of the last nine. See Equivalent Forced Outage Rate »
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:
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 2012 were about $15.5 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 and Edison Electric Institute.
Contributions to the following 527 organizations were made in 2012:
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.
Total electricity consumption, including both purchases from electric power producers and on-site generation, grows from 3,879 billion kilowatt-hours in 2010 to 4,775 billion kilowatt-hours in 2035, increasing at an average annual rate of 0.8 percent.
Source: Energy Information Administration
Annual Energy Outlook 2012 Early Release Overview