Even Giants Somewhat Vulnerable

The virus crisis is casting shadows even on industry giants like Southern Co., parent to Alabama Power Co.

Fitch Ratings, on April 2, gave a BBB+ rating to a $1 billion batch of senior notes of The Southern Co.

The rating came with a “Negative Rating Outlook,” looking down the road to a two things. First mention was “material execution risks that still lie ahead for Georgia Power Company, Southern Company’s largest subsidiary, regarding the construction of Vogtle 3 and 4 nuclear units.”

But the other “key rating driver” is “impact from coronavirus.”

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“Coronavirus concerns are causing unprecedented disruptions to state and local economies, as well as to the financial markets,” Fitch notes of the obvious. Then, particular to Southern, “With a sharp pullback in economic activity, Fitch expects the electric sales to commercial and industrial customers to decline.”

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