Release issued regarding National Power

The following press release was issued in London this morning:

On 16th April 1996 The Southern Company announced it was considering a possible transaction involving National Power PLC, noting this would be subject to regulatory approvals in the UK and US.

Responding to the possibility of bids in the electricity sector, the UK government announced on 2nd May 1996 a decision to retain its special share in National Power which prevents anyone from owning more than 15 percent of the company. The UK government explained that the two independent UK generating companies were operating in a market which is not yet fully competitive. The UK government will be prepared to consider canceling these special shares (after consulting the two generating companies) when it is satisfied there is adequate competition in electricity supply and generation.

The UK electricity industry remains attractive for The Southern Company which last year made an investment of ?1.1 billion in buying SWEB. The Southern Company believes the transaction, structured as intended, would have accelerated competition in generation and supply, thereby lowering prices to commercial and domestic customers.

The Southern Company will continue to work with the UK regulatory authorities to overcome barriers to market entry in electricity generation & supply. The Southern Company recognizes however that the UK government statement, together with clarification it has subsequently received, blocks its intended transaction involving National Power PLC.