Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Georgia and Florida Join Forces with SouthStar Energy Services in Sustainability Partnership

ATLANTA, April 25, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- SouthStar Energy Services®, a member of the Southern Company family of companies, has entered into a groundbreaking alliance with two Historically Black Colleges and Universities across its multi-state business footprint. This new partnership with Paine College in Augusta, Georgia and Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida aims to reduce the institutions' emissions footprints from their natural gas use through SouthStar's innovative Greener Life® for Business program.

SouthStar Energy Services realizes the importance of sustainability for future generations and the critical role educational institutions play in shaping future leaders. By teaming up with Paine College and Bethune-Cookman University, SouthStar demonstrates a shared commitment to both environmental responsibility and educational excellence.

"We are privileged to have served these distinguished HBCUs for many years and now are excited to be assisting with their respective sustainability goals and initiatives," said Mike Braswell, president and CEO of SouthStar Energy Services. "SouthStar is proud to be the first in the market to establish this kind of innovative partnership and demonstrate our commitment to the ideals of our parent, Southern Company."

The Greener Life for Business program is an industry-leading initiative designed to help businesses reduce their environmental impact. Through this program, SouthStar Energy Services will assist the partnering HBCUs in offsetting the carbon emissions from their natural gas usage. This result is achieved via investments in carbon offset projects, which include reforestation, methane capture and more. Additionally, each school will be supporting carbon offset programs in the states where they are located. These collaborations represent an integral part of SouthStar's dedication to promoting eco-friendly business practices across the communities it serves.

"Our partnership, through SouthStar's Greener Life for Business program, demonstrates our continued efforts to be an example to other institutions of higher learning on the path to carbon neutrality," said Dr. Cheryl Evans Jones, president of Paine College. "This partnership embodies our commitment to environmental stewardship and a brighter, cleaner future for our communities."

"I am personally elated to embark on this transformative journey with SouthStar Energy Services. This partnership reflects our shared dedication to sustainability and underscores our commitment to leaving a positive environmental legacy. Together, we are shaping a greener, more promising future for our beloved institution and the communities we serve," said Dr. William Berry, acting president/provost of Bethune-Cookman University.

This partnership builds off a longstanding relationship between the Southern Company family of companies and HBCUs. In 2020, Southern Company announced a $50 million initiative in support of HBCUs across its footprint.

For over 25 years, SouthStar has taken the initiative on identifying and supporting innovations to make natural gas sustainable and environmentally friendly. Through the addition of the Greener Life program, thousands of both residential and commercial customers have been empowered to offset more than 350 million pounds of carbon emissions to date. For more about SouthStar's sustainability history, visit www.SouthStarEnergy.com/sustainability.

About Paine College

Paine College, founded in 1882, is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Paine remains a liberal arts, coeducational institution, committed to providing educational opportunities to all students in a diverse, caring, and inclusive campus community. Voted among Georgia's best Christian Colleges, Paine is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). Paine has a history of educating the best and brightest, but intentionally seeks out students who would otherwise not attend college. Paine is known for creating opportunities for students to be better prepared for the college experience through its Upward Bound Program, Dual Degree Program, and free Summer STEM Enrichment Programs. For more information, visit paine.edu.

About Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU)

Now in its 120th year, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) is a historically-Black university in Daytona Beach, Fla., founded by civil and human rights activist Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in 1904 as the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. With deep roots in the history of America, B-CU is a United Methodist-related, private institution largely focused on liberal arts programs to meet students' diverse educational, social and cultural needs. The university is home to the nation's #2 HBCU Nursing Program, a world-renowned marching band known as "The Pride," and is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

About SouthStar Energy

SouthStar Energy Services® is owned by Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). SouthStar also operates Georgia Natural Gas®, Ohio Natural Gas®, Florida Natural Gas®, Pennsylvania EnergySM, Grand Rapids Energy® (in Michigan) and in other parts of the Southeast as SouthStar Energy Services. SouthStar's subsidiaries in Illinois operate as Illinois EnergySM and Illinois Energy Solutions®.

About Southern Company

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy provider serving 9 million customers across the Southeast and beyond through its family of companies. Providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy with excellent service is our mission. The company has electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company, a leading distributed energy distribution company with national capabilities, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, resilience and sustainability, we are taking action to meet customers' and communities' needs while advancing our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and are the key to our sustained success. We are transforming energy into economic, environmental and social progress for tomorrow. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have earned the company national awards and recognition from numerous organizations, including Forbes, The Military Times, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, J.D. Power, Fortune, Human Rights Campaign and more. To learn more, visit www.southerncompany.com.

SOURCE SouthStar Energy Services

For further information: Pete Symons, C: 470.630.3093, psymons@southernco.com