Southern Company tops Fortune’s ‘Most Admired’ list

ATLANTA – For the third consecutive year, Fortune magazine named Southern Company America’s most admired electric and gas utility based on a survey of top industry executives, directors and securities analysts. The results were reported as part of Fortune’s “America’s Most Admired Companies” issue, which is being distributed this week.

Judged on eight criteria, Southern Company received its highest score in financial soundness. The company reported 2003 earnings of $1.47 billion, up from $1.32 billion in 2002, operating at historically high levels of reliability, achieving industry-leading customer satisfaction levels and continuing to offer retail prices 15 percent below the national average.

With more than 4 million customers and nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a growing competitive generation company, an energy services business and a competitive retail natural gas business, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average. Southern Company has been named three consecutive years No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s “America’s Most Admired Companies” list in the Electric and Gas Utility industry. Southern Company has been ranked the nation’s top energy utility in the American Customer Satisfaction Index four years in a row, and in the latest survey tied for the highest score among all service industry companies. Southern Company has more than 500,000 shareholders, making its common stock one of the most widely held in the United States. Visit the Southern Company Web site at