On the top line, first-quarter sales clocked in at $4.6 billion, well above Q1 2013's $3.9 billion and significantly higher than analyst expectations of $4.0 billion in revenue. As sales soared, Southern Company also managed to keep more for its bottom line. Adjusted earnings per share, or EPS, came in at $0.66, $0.10 above expectations and $0.17 better than Q1 2013.
According to Southern Company, its stellar first-quarter earnings can be traced back to cold winter weather, as well as residential and industrial sales growth and retail revenue effects at all four of its regulated utilities. Residential sales jumped 14.8%, commercial increased 3.7%, and industrial added on 2.8%. Retail customer sales grew 7.1%.
"Winter storms contributed to the Southeast's coldest January in 20 years, driving energy demand and demonstrating the resilience of our system and the commitment of our employees," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Fanning in a statement today. "We are encouraged by continued residential customer growth and 10 straight months of increased industrial usage."