Friday, January 9, 2009

Efficiency and Conservation Key to Meeting Rising Energy Demand, Southern Company CEO Says

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Energy efficiency and conservation will play an increasingly important role in meeting rising energy demand, said Southern Company (NYSE:SO) Chairman, President and CEO David M. Ratcliffe during the National Association of Regulators and Utility Commissioner's Anybody Can Serve, So Let's Conserve energy efficiency campaign launch. Ratcliffe also noted that along with efficiency and conservation as first choices, a diverse portfolio of generation resources including renewables, new nuclear and advanced coal technologies would be crucial in meeting customers' electricity needs.

Anybody Can Serve, So Let's Conserve is a campaign designed to help inform consumers about the many ways to move toward a more affordable, energy efficient, eco-friendly society by making conservation efforts more accessible, affordable and practical.

Addressing a broad audience including utility commissioners, federal and state lawmakers, consumer advocates and utility CEOs, Ratcliffe noted that energy efficiency programs have a history of helping Southern Company and other utilities meet demand. "Between 1989 and 2005, such programs saved enough electricity to power 74 million average U.S. homes for one year," said Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe also noted that demand-side and energy efficiency efforts have helped Southern Company avoid building more than 3,000 megawatts of peaking capacity since the 1990s, which is enough energy to power nearly half a million homes. "Over the next decade that number will grow by at least another 1,000 megawatts," Ratcliffe continued. "Between now and 2020, we will invest more than $1 billion in energy efficiency programs for our customers."

Southern Company recently launched a program called EarthCents that is designed to reduce customers' energy use and save them money. It includes initiatives ranging from energy audits, weatherization, direct load control, geothermal heating and cooling, as well as homebuilder programs, smart meters and real-time pricing.

Ratcliffe noted that public awareness campaigns like Anybody Can Serve, So Let's Conserve, school partnerships, interactive Web sites, and personal contact are key to helping customers use energy more wisely. "While we do these things now, this new campaign is a creative approach that will help us be even more effective," he said.

Ratcliffe concluded his remarks by emphasizing the need for increased collaboration between federal and state governments, business leaders and the environmental community to meet the energy challenges facing this nation.

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