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SOUTHERN COMPANY INCREASES DIVIDEND; ANNOUNCES EARNINGS

 SOUTHERN COMPANY INCREASES DIVIDEND; ANNOUNCES EARNINGS
 ATLANTA, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The directors of The Southern Company (NYSE: SO) today raised the quarterly dividend on the company's common stock to 55 cents a share -- an increase of 1-1/2 cents per share over the previous quarterly rate.
 The dividend is payable March 6 to stockholders of record Feb.3.
 The new quarterly dividend is equivalent to an annual rate of $2.20 per share.
 Discussing today's decision, Southern Company President Edward L. Addison said: "This marks the first time in more than five years that our shareholders will receive an increase in the quarterly dividend rate.
 "The board's action underscores the company's progress in resolving the major business problems that halted any real growth in our earnings since 1986 -- and demonstrates our confidence in the fundamentals of our business.
 "The majority of our stockholders are retired," Addison continued, "and today's dividend increase reflects our understanding of the importance they place on income from their investment in The Southern Company."
 The Southern Company is the parent firm of five electric utilities: Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric. The Southern Company's common stock is one of the 20 most widely held corporate stocks in America.
 Addison also announced financial results for 1991, noting "substantial improvement over the depressed performance of a year ago."
 Earnings for 1991 totaled $876 million or $2.78 a share -- up $272 million or 87 cents per share from the previous year. Addison pointed out that net income for 1990 was reduced by an after-tax charge of $218 million -- or 69 cents a share. The write-off was taken after the Georgia Supreme Court refused to review a decision by the state public service commission disallowing a portion of the company's investment in Plant Vogtle.
 For the fourth quarter of 1991, net income was $196 million or 63 cents per share -- an increase of $109 million or 36 cents a share over the comparable period a year earlier.
 Addison said that 1991 performance was bolstered by a gain of $114 million or 36 cents a share from the first installment in the settlement of a contract dispute with Gulf States Utilities. Southern Company subsidiaries finalized the settlement with Gulf States in November, ending a five-year disagreement over major power sales contracts.
 Earnings for 1991 were negatively affected by a charge of $33 million or 10 cents a share taken in December to cover early retirement costs from a work force reduction at Georgia Power. Through various programs, the company is eliminating 900 positions as part of an effort to freeze operating expenses through 1995.
 Results for 1991 were also reduced by $25 million or 8 cents a share from the operations of Southern Electric International -- The Southern Company's subsidiary that pursues independent power generation projects in the United States and abroad. The $25 million charge includes costs for project development and a reserve to cover potential losses.
 Reviewing operations, Addison said electricity use by retail customers in The Southern Company's service area rose 1.2 percent during 1991. In-home electricity needs were up 1.5 percent to 33.6 billion kilowatthours. Electricity use by commercial customers -- offices, stores and other non-manufacturing firms -- gained 2.4 percent to 30.4 billion kilowatthours. Industrial energy use increased 0.2 percent to 46.1 billion kilowatthours.
 Addison said The Southern Company gained 45,000 new customers in 1991.
 Total sales of electricity to customers of The Southern Company -- including sales to other utilities -- were down 1.4 percent in 1991 compared with the previous year.
 Concluding his report, Addison announced that the board of directors today approved a capital budget of $1.4 billion in 1992 for upgrading power plants, transmission lines, substations, and distribution facilities, for new customer connections, and for nuclear fuel.
 A $4.7 billion capital budget for the period 1992-1994 also was reviewed by the board.
 Discussing the need to continue strengthening the region's power supply network, Addison said that peak demand for electricity grew at an average rate of 3.2 percent annually for the past 10 years. "And we're projecting that peak energy demands will continue to increase -- by an average of 1.9 percent a year over the next decade."
 THE SOUTHERN COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Consolidated Condensed Income Data
 (Dollar amounts in thousands, except share data)
 Year ended 1991 (a) 1990 (b) Pct. chg.
 Kilowatthour sales (millions):
 Retail sales 110,868 109,556 1.20
 Total sales 143,027 145,090 (1.42)
 Operating revenues $8,049,849 $8,052,059 (0.03)
 Income before interest
 charges 1,780,820 1,531,216 16.30
 Consolidated net income 876,417 603,938 45.12
 Average number of shares of
 common stock outstanding 315,653,667 315,653,667 ---
 Earnings per share of common
 stock $2.78 $1.91 45.55
 (a) Income before interest charges, consolidated net income and earnings per share reflect an after-tax increase of $114 million (36 cents per share) to recognize a settlement from Gulf States Utilities Company.
 Income before interest charges, consolidated net income and earnings per share include an after-tax charge of $33 million (10 cents per share) for Georgia Power's 1992 Voluntary Workforce Reduction Program.
 (b) Income before interest charges, consolidated net income and earnings per share reflect a $218 million after-tax (69 cents per share) write-off by Georgia Power.
 Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to current year presentation.
 -0- 1/20/92
 /CONTACT: Gale Klappa or David Mould of The Southern Company, 404-455-1077/
 (SO) CO: The Southern Company ST: Georgia IN: UTI SU: ERN DIV


BR-BN -- AT006 -- 1461 01/20/92 14:14 EST
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Date:Jan 20, 1992
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