Southern Company to build new wholesale generation near Columbus, Georgia

Southern Company will construct a 500-megawatt, natural gas-fired generating facility to help meet growing demand for electricity in the southeast United States. The combined-cycle power plant will be built near Columbus, Ga., and will be owned and operated by Georgia Power, Southern Company`s electric utility subsidiary in Georgia. The site of the plant will be in northeast Lee County, Ala., on the Alabama-Georgia state line, adjacent to Georgia Power’s Goat Rock hydroelectric plant on the Chattahoochee River.

The facility, scheduled for commercial operation by early 2002, will be committed to the wholesale market. Because the plant will serve the wholesale market, it will not affect electric rates paid by Georgia Power customers.

“The Southeast is continuing to experience strong growth, creating the demand for new electric generation,” said Charles McCrary, president of Southern Company Generation, the business unit responsible for developing and operating all non-nuclear Southern Company generating plants in the Southeast. “Southern Company’s experience in power production and demonstrated skills in wholesale marketing offer unique capabilities in pursuing these growth opportunities.”

Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility, serving customers in 57,000 of the state’s 59,000 square miles. Georgia Power`s rates are more than 15 percent below the national average and its 1.8 million customers are in all but six of Georgia’s 159 counties.

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is an international energy company with more than $35 billion in assets through regional utilities and operations around the world. It is the largest producer of electricity in the United States and one of the world’s leading independent power producers. Based in Atlanta, Southern Company is the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric. Through its Southern Energy subsidiary, Southern Company supplies electricity in 10 countries on four continents and has a growing presence in North America with assets in the Northeast, the Midwest, California and Texas. Southern Company also provides energy-related marketing, trading and technical services in the United States and Europe and offers Southern LINC wireless telecommunications.