Southern Company announced today that the company will, as requested, conduct a further assessment of how it is responding to potential regulatory, competitive and public pressures related to reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions. A summary of the reports results will be available in the companys next environmental progress report, as well as through other avenues, by spring 2005.
The assessment is being done in response to a proposal filed by a group of shareholders last fall. As a result, the shareholders have agreed to withdraw the proposal.
We share the position with the shareholders that the companys management and the Board of Directors have a fiduciary duty to carefully assess and disclose to shareholders appropriate information on the companys possible environmental risks, said Allen Franklin, Southern Company chairman and CEO.
The assessment will include:
A discussion of the environmental requirements that the company currently faces and may face in the future, with particular attention to an assessment of current proposals for mandatory restraints on carbon dioxide emissions;
An assessment of the strategic options the company could take to respond to these requirements, with emphasis on their impacts on shareholder value and the competitive position of the company; and
An evaluation of the actions the company is taking and proposes to take to respond to current and future requirements and an assessment of these current and proposed actions on shareholder value.
Our goal is to share information with shareholders and others about past, present and future challenges that is meaningful and useful, as well as to continually enhance the quality of information that we provide, added Franklin. This decision to perform the assessment is consistent with our approach to corporate governance, for which we have been recognized as being among the best in our industry.
Franklin added that company management will work with the Southern Company Board of Directors and the shareholder group throughout this year in conducting the assessment before final publication in the spring of 2005.
The shareholder proposal had asked for an assessment of how the company is responding to rising regulatory, competitive, and public pressures to significantly reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions, and issue a report to shareholders. It was co-filed by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, New Jersey; the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell New Jersey, Newton, New Jersey; the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, Hartford, Connecticut; the Sinsinawa Dominicans Shareholders & Consumer Action Advisory Committee, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin; Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, Texas; Board of Pensions Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Minneapolis, Minnesota; United Church Foundation, New York, New York; Benedictine Sisters, San Antonio, Texas; and The Pension Boards United Church of Christ, New York, New York.
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 magazines Americas Most Admired Companies list in the Electric and Gas Utility industry. Southern Company has been ranked the nations 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 www.southerncompany.com.