Unit 1 of Edwin I. Hatch Electric Generating Plant has been stalled for a planned refueling and maintenance outage. Southern Nuclear Operating Company, an affiliate of Southern CompanySO , is the operator of the plant.
During 2014, the unit was last taken out for refueling activities. It is to be noted that the units of the Hatch plant need new fuel in every two years. The components of the units also need to be upgraded. Unit 2 of the plant will carry on working for as long as unit 1 is out of operation. The company added that more than 900 employees are supporting planned refueling and maintenance activities.
Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Southern Company is one of the largest electric utility holding companies in the U.S., and the premier energy firm serving the attractive Southeast market. We consider the Southeast as one of the better regions to operate an electric utility due to higher-than-average natural population growth, a strong and diverse regional economy, constructive regulation and comparatively tight power markets. These characteristics provide a solid basis for Southern Company's regulated business, which is expected to make up roughly 90% of its consolidated earnings over the next few years.
Moreover, the company continues to earn returns that are among the highest in the industry, while at the same time maintains its position as a low-cost provider of electricity with superior customer satisfaction levels. Additionally, Southern Company remains a leader in power plant productivity, cost control and new technology research.
However, the challenging economic environment and increased spending levels may hamper Southern Company's results in the next few quarters.
As a result, Southern Company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it will perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.
Meanwhile, stocks that warrant a look in the energy space include Murphy USA Inc. MUSA , Cheniere Energy Partners LP CQP and Valero Energy Corporation VLO . Both Murphy USA and Cheniere Energy sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Valero Energy carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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