Southern Company Looks To Microgrids

Southern Company is to acquire PowerSecure International to expand its beyond the meter offerings.
Published: Wed 16 Mar 2016

The trend of utilities buying up energy service companies continues with the latest being the intended acquisition of PowerSecure International by Atlanta-based Southern Company.

PowerSecure International, whose business is almost completely based in the US, provides energy technologies and services to utilities and large commercial customers. Its main product is the Interactive Distributed Generation power system, which provides peak shaving and back-up power with generators and an energy monitoring and management system – in essence, basic microgrids. To date the custom engineered system has been installed at more than 1,200 sites, including industrial manufacturers, food processors, data centres, hospitals and military installations among others

The company also supplies solar PV technology, lighting and other energy efficiency services, and utility infrastructure, including advanced switchgear through subsidiary NexGear.

Southern Company eyes behind the meter

Increasingly consumers are looking to self generation with private companies such as SolarCity making inroads into the residential and business markets in the US with its attractive financial packages. [see e.g. Engerati-Solar Potential in Small Commercial Sector Finally Recognised]

This demand is clearly behind Southern Company’s plans. In a statement the company says it believes that the advancement of distributed infrastructure technologies helps meet customers' future energy needs as part of the full portfolio of energy resources.

“As energy technologies and customer expectations continue to evolve, the electric utility business model is increasingly expanding beyond the meter,” says Southern Company president and CEO Thomas Fanning in the statement. “Today there is demand for distributed infrastructure solutions that best meet each customer's unique energy needs.”

Customized distributed energy products

The acquisition will open up new opportunities for both companies. Southern Company will be positioned to offer new customized distributed products to its large customers.

Southern Company, with approximately 46,000MW of generation capacity, serves more than 4.5 million customers throughout the US southeast through its subsidiaries Georgia Power, Alabama Power, Mississippi Power and Florida’s Gulf Power.

For PowerSecure International the acquisition opens up a largely new geographic market as these technologies have typically received highest demand in markets outside of the Southeast, where distributed infrastructure investments tend to provide greater customer value.

The US$431 million deal is subject to the standard requirements and is expected to be completed by the end of Q2 2016. PowerSecure's operations, including its management team and corporate headquarters, will continue to be based in Wake Forest, NC.