DE: Oh, thank you very much. And as a guy who has some professional
interest in this stuff, I totally applaud the research that y’all
are doing on energy technologies and renewable
energies and efficiency technologies because it does take a while to
SO CEO Tom Fanning is a true believer in “all of the above”,
yet a skeptic about natural gas.
However, he really doesn’t have much faith in renewables,
as he indicated at the
22 May 2013 Southern Company Stockholder Meeting
and even more strongly in the Wall Street Journal.
This question is from Stephanie Coffin of Atlanta, Georgia, and she
holds 18 shares of stock.
How are you, Tom?
Dynamite. How are you?
Last year, I came to this meeting to ask a question and to listen to
the Southern Company reports. And so before I came I got to thinking
about what has changed since the last meeting. I think two things,
and then I’ll ask my question.
The first is the chairperson’s salary
increased 34 percent, over $13 million a year. I’m sure the retirees
and stockholders in the room wonder about the $13 million salary and
see that as negative PR in the face of continuing recession. $13
million a year, most of us are on fixed income. I mean, your income
is fixed, too, but it’s very high. Mine is pretty low and we all
have to pay electric bills.
The second change, and then I’ll ask my
question, is that now 70 — 97 percent of all scientists
believe that climate change — that is, global warming —
is real and caused by human activity and this is a big shift. Last
year we were the climate deniers, we’re in control, and now 97
percent of all scientists say it’s real, it’s coming, you better get
In the face of this scientific consensus the Southern Company
has maintained its reliance on fossil fuels, mountaintop coal, old
coal plants and pushing nuclear power with huge wattage demands and
the dangers of nuclear wastes.
Why is SO gambling our health and dollars on Plant Vogtle
when Georgia Power could be getting on with solar power?
SO CEO Tom Fanning avoided the first part of Gloria Tatum’s question
by simply denying it, and danced around the second part by saying
the rate hike for Plant Vogtle’s cost overruns would only be
6 to 8 percent, not 12 percent.
Do you want to pay 6 or 8 percent more for a radioactive white elephant
when you could be getting power from the sun for less?
GT: Tom. Hi,Tom. It’s great to be here on this beautiful day.
TF: Thank you. Yes ma’am.
GT: And I know Southern Company’s done many wonderful things, but I want
to point out a few things to you today.
First, you know, after the
Fukushima meltdown, TEPCO’s $50 billion nuclear complex became a
worthless liability. The deadly radiation still circles the planet,
polluting the earth and increasing cancer. Other countries have
abandoned their nuclear and they’re looking to renewable, but
Southern Company’s affiliate, Georgia Power, continues construction
on two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Now Shell Bluff is a
community down the stream from Plant Vogtle and it has experienced a
25 percent increase in cancer since Vogtle 1 and 2 have been built.
SO CEO Tom Fanning used Julia O’Neal’s question about cost overruns
to tout the alleged benefits of Kemper Coal,
which include selling CO2 to oil companies to pump into the ground to
produce more oil.
He didn’t mention that oil is then burned to produce more CO2.
And that Mississippi lignite coal he said would otherwise stay in the ground?
Yes it and its CO2 would stay there if SO would get on with solar instead of coal.
I always call out Vogtle and Kemper County.
Both projects are going to serve our customers for decades to come.
We’ve had some challenges with Kemper.
We’ll probably talk about those later.
But when I think about the value that these projects will bring,
I think our customers, and the economy of the southeast,
will be benefited for decades.
And we’re very excited about the progress we’re making on both of those.
It’s curious he mentioned SO’s flagship coal and nuclear projects
without saying coal or nuclear.
And if by “progress” he means Continue reading →
“Corporate responsiblity,” answered Southern Company CEO Thomas A. Fanning
to questions about Kemper Coal from Linda St. Martin of Mississippians
For Affordable Energy.
I don’t think that word means what he thinks it means.
“Almost like a Berkshire-Hathaway meeting,”
remarked SO CEO Tom Fanning after
Sierra Club (and other) activists asked questions
Southern Company stockholder meeting at Callaway Gardens yesterday,
as promised by the numerous news stories the previous day after the press conference organized by Georgia Sierra Club Director Colleen Kiernan.
As usual Fanning turned in a Class A CEO performance,
although he seemed bemused by the diversity and sometimes very positive
slant of the questions,
which nonetheless brought up numerous problems with SO’s coal and nuclear
agenda, lackluster renewable energy agenda, and
the impending disruption of distributed solar power.
New rule this year: no unauthorized video or flash photography,
posted on big signs outside the conference room door.
I asked Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers to authorize me,
but he said it was a shareholder meeting and thus a different level.
The person in charge of SO’s own videoing promised they’d
be available on the web soon after the meeting.
I told him I’d been checking since last year’s meeting, and those
still weren’t on the web.
He said they had been briefly; then they were taken down.
But he would make them available.
Meanwhile, you only get this one picture of Tom Fanning
(he insists everyone call him Tom) as he compared SO’s stock price to the only more stable company:
That’s right, SO is almost as stable as Spam.
He looked at me rather pointedly as he announced that new rule.
And rather wryly later when I pointed out
that according to Edison Electric Institute
SO’s business model was due for disruption very soon.
More on that later,
along with other reports on Wednesday’s meeting.
The Lodge Conference Center at Callaway Gardens
Pine Mountain, Georgia 3182
It includes a list of Items of Business, which doesn’t mention that
stockholders are usually allowed to ask questions.
Those questions are usually answered by Thomas A. fanning,
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer,
who included a letter (text below) in which he recites
his usual list of energy sources, in his usual order: Continue reading →