With all of the market volatility lately, some investors appear to be getting charged up about utilities. Southern (NYSE: SO) is one player in the group that's now come forth with solid quarterly results.

For the December-ended period, the company, which recently announced changes to its management team, earned $204 million, or $0.27 a share, up 8.5% on the net-income line from a year earlier. If you back out the effects of Southern's synthetic-fuels investments, however, the per-share figure for the most recent quarter came in at $0.26, a couple of pennies above expectations.

In virtually every reporting period, Southern's results get a boost from the company's location, which includes a headquarters in Atlanta and service to customers in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. In the most recent quarter, that region's relative vibrancy resulted in total energy sales to customers -- including wholesale sales -- 2.3% higher over the prior year. Another beneficiary of the growing southeastern United States, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), reports on Tuesday.

Southern's 4.3% dividend yield has the company in good standing with the Motley Fool Income Investor team. And its beta of just 0.4 indicates that even amid the current queasiness-inducing market conditions, the company's shares generally keep their calm. For that combination of reasons, if market flightiness is having a pronounced negative effect on your fingernails, you might consider a dose of some soothing Southern comforting.

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Both Southern and Duke Energy are recommendations of the market-beating Income Investor newsletter service. Readers can now try the dividend-focused service free for 30 days.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your comments. The Motley Fool has an electric disclosure policy.