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Susan Story, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company Services says the Georgia-based utility has spent $1 billion on building smart devices and infrastructure to help increase its operating efficiency and it customers’ energy efficiency.

Story discussed the company’s green efforts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham‘s Leader to Leader Breakfast Series. She stressed that implementing a smart grid helps network energy efficiency, which ultimately helps Southern Company teams operate more effectively and efficiently while also saving customers money on their electric bill. According to Story, Southern Company subsidiary, Alabama Power, is currently the only utility in the United States using an integrated distribution management system (IDMS).

Story also spoke in detail about alternative energy solutions Southern Co. is pursuing. As an example, she pointed out how 2012 will be the first year Alabama Power gets more kilowatt hours of power from natural gas than it does from coal. That is significant because Story North America only has between 200 and 300 more years of coal resources left.

Story described the utility’s approach to energy resources as an “all arrows in the quiver” one. To that end, Southern Co. is also working to expand use of wind, solar, and nuclear power.

Story is responsible for overseeing Southern Co.’s information technology, human resources, supply chain management, and marketing services, in addition to SouthernLINC Wireless—Southern Company’s wireless telecommunications provider—and Southern Telecom, the company’s wholesale fiber optic network provider.

The Leader to Leader Breakfast Series is hosted by the UAB School of Business and presents industry leaders from the banking, finance, energy, and security sectors who discuss current business issues and trends. All speakers are either UAB School of Business alumni or business leaders who are committed friends of the University.

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