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History

Forging ahead on a strong foundation

A century ago, James Mitchell – engineer, builder, entrepreneur, and man of the world – traveled to the American South and made the first big bet for Southern Company.  Mitchell was so inspired by the hydro potential of Alabama’s rivers that he dreamed of developing a series of dams to electrify the Southeast.  To bring his dream to life, he sketched out a regional power network, raised money from British investors, and created the first of the three forerunner holding companies that would play prominent roles in Southern Company’s history.

In the century since, Southern Company and its predecessor companies have faced every conceivable impediment to progress – natural and man-made disasters, a hostile takeover, financial challenges and numerous threats and attempts to pull its business apart and scramble the pieces.  Rather than being destroyed by these challenges, Southern Company grew stronger, more resilient, and more committed to its mission.  That Southern Company has not only survived for a century but also empowered the South to thrive is a reflection on the leaders who emerged to shepherd the company safely into tomorrow.

Through expansions, customer growth, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, today Southern Company is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average.

We have two books that speak to our strong foundation: Innovative Solutions reflects on our research and development programs over the years and Big Bets tells the extraordinary tales of our company’s leaders—those who defended their dreams for the good of all.

Becoming Southern

Innovative Solutions: A history of R&D at Southern Company

Through the decades, Southern Company has delivered clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through industry-leading innovations. For the full story, download a copy of the book here.

Big Bets: Decisions and Leaders that Shaped Southern Company

Big Bets traces the remarkable story of our leaders—their dreams, tribulations and triumphs in empowering the American South. For the full story, purchase a hardcover copy or audio version of the book here.

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