Key Impacts, Risks, Opportunities
Virtually every citizen and business enterprise within our service footprint is touched by what we do. Start your microwave and that's us behind the plug. Enjoying a soft drink? Chances are, we're powering the bottling plant. Go fishing on a local lake, and that's us operating the dam. Even if you heat your house with an alternative fuel, we probably supply the power to run the circulating fan. People take our product for granted. Because we're virtually everywhere with lines to almost everyone.
By the very nature of what we do—generating electricity for more than 4.5 million customers in the Southeast-our company has a key impact on the:
- Safety of workers by stressing the need to anticipate hazards.
- Prosperity of customers by keeping monthly electric bills affordable.
- Profits of businesses where efficient electrical use can lower operating expenses.
- Improvement of communities with service, volunteerism and support.
- Growth of a region that needs affordable energy to compete in a global market.
- Energy independence of a nation facing increased strains on domestic resources.
- Conservation of the environment and natural resources.
Our impacts do not occur in a vacuum. Some coincide with one another and present opportunities, while others conflict and present risks. This report details how we balance priorities among employees, investors, customers, suppliers, regulators, community members and environmentalists. On balance, our opportunities and risks net out to these stakeholder goals:
- Keep electricity affordable and reliable.
- Champion conservation and energy efficiency.
- Lower the impact of electricity generation on the environment.
- Attract, develop, protect and retain skilled workers to ensure reliable supplies of electricity.
- Foster community growth and environmental stewardship.
This report focuses on our plans, progress and performance against these goals. The first three goals are covered in the environmental responsibility section, the fourth in work force, and the last in stewardship.
Climate change, emissions, water use and other expansive risk factors are covered in detail in the report. Additional risk factors to future earnings potential, outlined in our 2015 10K (p I-17), include:
- Substantial governmental regulation
- Costs of compliance with environmental laws
- Changing transmission regulatory structures
- Competitive activity in the wholesale electricity markets
- Ability of subsidiaries to pay upstream dividends or to repay funds to Southern Company
- Successful operation of facilities
- Higher costs and penalties as a result of mandatory reliability standards
- Sales under power purchase agreements
- Additional costs or delays in the construction of new plants or other facilities
- Changes in technology
- Environmental, health, regulatory, terrorism and financial threats
- Changes in power prices and fuel costs
- A downgrade in credit ratings
- Losses from the use of derivative contracts
- Adequate fuel supplies
- Rising or falling demand for power
- Weather conditions
- Attraction and retention of a qualified work force
- Availability of funds through capital markets and financial institutions
- The value of benefit plans and decommissioning trust assets
- Changing economic conditions which may affect the ability to obtain adequate insurance coverage, and the financial stability of customers
- Energy conservation and energy price increases