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Southern’s Nuclear Plant Project Not Delayed by Virus, CEO Says

March 20, 2020, 6:03 PM

Construction to expand Southern’s Vogtle plant in Georgia is “going well” and hasn’t encountered major slowdowns from the coronavirus, CEO Tom Fanning said in an interview.

  • No workers at site have tested positive for the virus
  • Co. has no need to issue shares to fund capital requirements after last year’s transactions and has little debt maturing in the short term
    • “We’re extraordinarily well suited,” Fanning said
  • Co. sees a reduction in industrial and commercial customers’ demand for power, offset by an uptick in residential consumption
    • Southern is ‘nowhere near’ having to review earnings guidance because of a potential recession
  • The spread of the coronavirus should have no major impact on the U.S.’s ability to generate electricity and keep the grid up
    • “We have all sorts of long-term plans should the pandemic get very severe”
  • Utilities’ capital spending should be little affected by a likely economic downturn, with investments in grid resilience getting a lion share of that

To contact the reporter on this story:
Gerson Freitas Jr. in New York at gfreitasjr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joe Ryan at jryan173@bloomberg.net

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.