Southern Company expands moves into DG with PowerSecure acquisition

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Yesterday Southern Company announced that it had completed its acquisition of distributed generation infrastructure company PowerSecure, which will now become a subsidiary. Southern, which owns four utilities in the U.S. Deep South, says that it the move allows it to deploy distributed generation solutions to its customers.

The target will primarily be commercial and industrial customers, and PowerSecure offers a variety of products and services related to solar energy, energy efficiency and what it describes as “Interactive Distributed Generation”, which can include smart grid capabilities, forecasting and other services.

"For more than a century, the Southern Company system has provided quality service by generating and delivering affordable, reliable electricity to the customer’s meter," declared Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning in a press statement. "Today we are thrilled to draw on PowerSecure’s nationally recognized expertise to deliver even greater customer value by developing innovative technologies on the other side of the meter."

Like Southern Company’s moves into solar, these solutions will initially be deployed outside the service area of its subsidiary companies. “Recognizing that these technologies typically receive highest demand in areas outside of the Southeast – where there is greater opportunity to improve electric reliability, price and customer service – this acquisition positions Southern Company to advance distributed infrastructure development across the U.S.,” reads the company’s press release.

The move echoes a trend in the strategy of Southern Company, which has been described as the “fourth branch of government” in Georgia, where its headquarters are located. While Southern strongly resisted distributed solar for many years, in 2015 subsidiary Georgia Power opened a customer solar program through which it sells solar installation services.

Under the acquisition PowerSecure shareholders received $18.75 in cash for each share of stock they held, for a total purchase price of $425 million. The company’s operations will continue to be based in North Carolina.