Southern Company has reported total revenues of $3.66 billion for the first quarter of 2009, down 0.5%, compared with the total revenues of $3.68 billion in the year-ago quarter. It has also reported a net income of $142 million for the first quarter of 2009, down 233%, compared with the net income of $375 million in the year-ago quarter.
Earnings for the first quarter included a charge of 26 cents a share related to a settlement agreement with MC Asset Recovery (MCAR) LLC to resolve a lawsuit arising out of the 2003 bankruptcy of Mirant Corp., a Southern Company subsidiary until its 2001 spin-off.
Excluding the impact of the MCAR settlement, Southern Company earned 42 cents a share for the first quarter of 2009, compared with 47 cents a share for the same period in 2008.
As a result of the recession, electricity sales were negatively impacted, especially industrial sales. Other negative drivers included lower revenues from market-response rates offered to commercial and industrial customers and higher asset depreciation primarily associated with increased investment in environmental, transmission and distribution equipment. These investments help the company produce cleaner energy and maintain reliability.
The negative drivers were partially offset by lower operations and maintenance expenses, increased retail rates and revenues associated with the recovery of investments in environmental equipment.
Kilowatt-hour sales to retail customers in Southern Company’s four-state service area decreased 6.6% in the first quarter, compared with the first quarter of 2008. Residential electricity sales decreased 1.3%. Electricity sales to commercial customers decreased 1.3%, and industrial sales decreased 16.9%.
Total energy sales to Southern Company’s customers in the Southeast, including wholesale sales, decreased 8.8% in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the same period of 2008.
We continue to provide reliable service at competitive prices, and in this struggling economy we are working to drive even greater efficiency while controlling our costs, said chief executive officer David M. Ratcliffe. We are confident that the long-term viability of the Southeast remains strong. We continue to execute our strategy and maintain our focus on the fundamentals that have made us successful.