Customers: The center of
everything we do
Since the very beginning, Alabama Power has been focused on serving our customers. And we’ve changed with the times to meet customers’ evolving needs, providing enhanced support through technology and innovation. Today, we’re providing sustainable energy solutions that keep customers at the center of all we do.
These days everything is getting smarter. Phones, TVs, even cars. Now the same can be said of our communities. In partnership with Alabama builders, we are creating Smart Neighborhoods across the state. The inaugural Smart Neighborhood is home to the Southeast’s first community-scale microgrid – with partners including the United States Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory – and has received national awards and recognition for being energy forward. We support renewable generation where it makes sense for customers, so we are aggressively studying how new technologies, such as microgrids, affect the security and resiliency of energy service.
Smart Neighborhood Builder Program homes – with building underway in Leeds and Auburn – have options to outfit their homes with energy-efficient appliances, connected devices, innovative security solutions and home automation. All representative of a smart energy lifestyle designed to simplify homeowners’ lives and give them more control over their homes and energy usage.
Our energy efficiency programs are getting smarter, too. Next-generation demand-side management solutions run behind the scenes to strategically shift load out of peak pricing while customers enjoy comfort and savings. Our optional Smart Advantage program was recently introduced as a residential load optimization solution for customers’ HVAC systems through smart thermostat algorithms, while providing effective and reliable grid management.
Smart Cities are livable, workable and sustainable. They are connected and have digital infrastructure that makes city services instantly available. Both Birmingham and Montgomery have received Smart Cities grants, making Alabama one of only a handful of states to have two awarded cities. Smart Cities mine data in order to develop programs that improve the city’s infrastructure and quality of life. We are partners in defining opportunities and collaborating on plans in the Smart Cities efforts to help enhance the communities we serve.
Founded on the principles of sustainability, our company continues to innovate energy solutions that help protect the environment we all share.
Renewables are playing an increasing role in our diverse portfolio as we work to meet customers’ energy preferences and their sustainability goals.
Commercial and industrial solutions
Experience begets expertise, and the lessons learned through research and practical application can be used to identify potential obstacles to success, and create more sustainable business practices. At our Technology Applications Center (TAC), we have offered complementary energy consulting services for our industrial and large commercial customers for the past 20 years.
The TAC also serves as a demonstration and test facility that explores:
- Reducing production costs.
- Improving energy efficiency and productivity.
- Addressing environmental concerns.
- Positively impacting local companies’ bottom lines.
Our TAC utilizes efficient technology such as induction, electric infrared and 3-D printing to help our customers test their products and processes to reduce their emissions, increase productivity, improve product quality and reduce overall energy use.
During the pandemic, and in partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Engineering and the Alabama Productivity Center at the University of Alabama, our TAC was able to leverage its equipment and expert skills to provide much-needed personal protective equipment for the medical community. 3-D printers and other resources were used to produce headbands and to laser cut the plastic needed to assemble face shields.
The TAC is also our site for container farm testing in order to fully understand the benefits of using electricity for LED lighting and climate-controlled equipment. Indoor farming can be a great supplement to the already thriving agricultural industry in our state and a game changer for farmers, stores, restaurants and consumers.
Electric vehicles are a critical part of a sustainable energy future, so we are evaluating grid reliability, including vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid technologies. And by partnering with automotive research and testing organizations, we are helping develop industry standards for future plug-in vehicles.
Our efforts to grow the electric vehicle battery and supplier industry in Alabama also support large automotive manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, which is building two plug-in electric vehicle models in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama Power is leading the transition to electric vehicles as part of Southern Company’s goal to convert 50% of its fleet by 2030. And we have installed direct current fast charging at company locations in Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile.
We are partnering with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to expand fast charging infrastructure along Interstate 20 and 459. Matching up to 20% of the cost to install the stations, we will also help the companies that build them, providing guidance on construction, hardware and software.
Charging stations connecting major highway systems across significant regions of the country would provide EV drivers confidence for long-distance travel without interruption. That’s why Southern Company is one of five founding electric utility members of the Electric Highway Coalition, partnering to create a seamless network of DC fast chargers for convenient charging across different utility footprints.
Alabama Power is engaged in a Southern Company system project with FleetCarma and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to assess the behavioral and technical aspects of light duty plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicle usage in the Southeast and incorporate this data into planning and program development. This optional customer program will provide critical load profile data and a deeper understanding of customer preferences.
We support customer, county and city efforts to install charging stations for their electric fleet vehicles along with the state’s efforts to build electric vehicle infrastructure and electrification of our airports, seaports and all intermodal distribution locations. We also engage in the evaluation and testing of electric vehicle supply equipment and their integration into the grid as well as support electrification of consumer vehicles, commercial vehicles and even nonroad applications like electrified dredging in Mobile and an electrified ferry in Camden that connects the town to historic Gee’s Bend.