Southern Co., parent of Alabama Power and other utilities — hit by the pandemic and its effect on the industries it serves — reported second-quarter earnings well below last year’s mark.
The utility posted earnings of $612 million, or 58 cents per share, compared to $899 million, or 86 cents per share, in the second quarter last year.
Earnings for the first six months were $1.48 billion, or $1.40 per share, down from $2.98 billion, or $2.86 per share, compared to the first six months of 2019.
Earnings drivers were hit by a decline in demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and mild weather, but offset by cost control and constructive state regulatory actions, the company reports.
Operating revenues were down 9.4 percent — from $5.10 billion to $4.62 billion — due to lower fuel costs, milder weather and a reduction in demand caused by the pandemic.
“Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Southern Company and its subsidiaries have never taken a day off,” said Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “Our electric and gas utilities have continued to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to customers while operating under appropriate health and safety protocols,” added Fanning. “Whether it’s our response to major storms in the Southeast or working within our communities to promote racial justice, we continue to deliver results, including continued progress on new nuclear construction.”
In April, Fitch Ratings tagged a series of Southern Company senior notes at BBB+, citing impact from the coronavirus and a consequent pullback in economic activity. In addition, the rating service also noted concern about progress on the construction of Vogtle 3 and 4 nuclear sites in Georgia, in light of the potential virus-related construction delays.