Alabama’s most treasured
resource is her people
Our customers are the center of our business. While Alabama Power’s number one mission is to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable power, we also challenge ourselves to help people and the state prosper.
We collaborate with a broad range of public and private organizations to catalyze sustainable growth. Through the Alabama Power Foundation and volunteerism across the breadth of our organization – from our leadership, to our employee families, to those who’ve retired – we support Alabama. That’s why our leadership serves on more than 150 nonprofit boards across the state.
We are all in this together
For many of us, there has never been a more unsettling time than the year 2020. The pandemic has affected every individual and every company in Alabama to varying degrees. We’ve worked hard to do our part to protect our employees, help our customers and sustain the business community.
Our Alabama Power team is 6,200 members strong. We knew that a part of stopping the spread of this virus began with protecting our employees. As an essential business, we never closed, so we implemented measures designed to keep employees and customers safe.
- We shifted to staggered work schedules at critical facilities and focused on essential work to sustain operations and maintain business continuity.
- For six months, we limited walk-in services at our local business offices across the state to ensure the safety of our employees and our customers.
- We are continuing to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus including additional personal protective equipment, social distancing, aggressive sanitization practices and limited business travel.
When COVID-19 hit, we began monitoring its impact on our economy. Right away, we committed to helping businesses across the state, from offering advice on accessing federal resources to working with customers who needed help.
For more than six months, Alabama Power did not disconnect any customers unable to pay their bills. Our customer service team remained available to help customers with individual attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week with payment kiosks, drop boxes, drive-thru options, as well as phone and online services. More than 2,500 alternate payment locations at local retailers were also available.
We joined Gov. Kay Ivey’s ALTogether initiative, a one-stop shop where Alabamians can ask for help or lend a hand during the COVID-19 crisis. We partnered in the mission to connect businesses, nonprofits and people in need with the right resources.
The Alabama Power Foundation partnered with the Black Belt Community Foundation, HOPE Credit Union and others to create the Black Belt Community Foundation COVID-19 Access Program. This fund gave Black Belt cities and counties immediate access to capital for COVID-19 response needs so they could take advantage of federal funding provided through the CARES Act. We leveraged our experience to help the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA) to provide COVID-19 support, technical assistance and programs to support financial education and management for local Hispanic communities.
When the virus struck, the Alabama Power Foundation and the Alabama Business Charitable Trust (ABC Trust) pledged $1 million in relief for communities in crisis and continues with ongoing support addressing food insecurity, health and human services and education during the pandemic. A foundation grant was used to support Concerned Oystermen Restoring Estuaries, which buys surplus, oversized oysters from farmers and redeploys them in wild reef habitats in need of restoration.
And – every bit as important as these programs – we continued to provide the reliable service our customers – hospitals, first responders, essential businesses – depend on.
We are committed to ensuring that racism has no place in our company and communities. While justice and equality are embedded in our corporate values, we recognize there is work to be done to end systemic racism in our country.
We recognize Alabama’s place in the history of the civil rights movement – and we support causes that empower our communities. Along with other foundations in the Southern Company family, we are committing $200 million over five years to advance racial equity and social justice in our communities. Our support efforts will focus on economic empowerment, education and criminal justice reform. We will continue to support the work of organizations making sustainable change in our communities, including:
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute – supporting educational, community engagement and public programs.
- Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation – advancing the global Black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public.
- Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) – programming for the Alabama Poor People’s Campaign effort to educate and engage communities across the state of Alabama in the topics of civic engagement and civil rights history.
Of this commitment, $100 million will be dedicated to advancing educational equality, which includes a $50 million multiyear pledge to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help provide students with scholarships, internships, leadership development and access to technology and innovation to support career readiness.
As part of this financial pledge, Alabama Power and Southern Company announced $1.75 million in technology grants to support the state’s four-year HBCUs. Institutions receiving funding for technology-specific projects include Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Miles, Oakwood, Stillman, Talladega and Tuskegee.
With 14 HBCUs, the largest number in the country, Alabama is uniquely positioned to engage and further strengthen the approximate $1.5 billion in economic impact these institutions provide to the state.
SUPPLY CHAIN DIVERSITY
A VITAL goal
A truly inclusive economy requires intention in purchasing and procurement. Diversity in the supply chain does more than just add richness and depth to our communities – a culture of diverse business leadership helps to create ecosystems that value entrepreneurship and innovation.
Greater Birmingham has a population that is 28% Black but owns just 3% of local businesses. The City of Birmingham launched the VITAL Program (Valuing Inclusion To Accelerate and Lift) in order to address this disparity by encouraging businesses to improve supplier diversity and look for opportunities to work with minority, female and other Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. As part of this VITAL initiative, we are active in plans to add jobs, promote entrepreneurship and help sustain small businesses.
Our statewide programs are designed to provide solid business opportunities for small and diverse businesses, including minority-owned, female-owned, HUBZone, veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. Before the global pandemic, Alabama Power and other Southern Company system companies spent nearly $1 billion with suppliers in our state in 2019. Of that amount, $598 million went to small and diverse suppliers, and we’ve committed to increase that spending.
Through a number of programs, we’re able to help people manage their energy use and connect them with resources for their utility bills. We offer a variety of demand-side management programs across all customer classes to reduce energy needs. These offerings help customers use energy more efficiently and manage their energy costs.