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Coal No Longer King as Southern Speeds Switch to Gas-Fired Power

Southern Co., one of the largest U.S. consumers of coal, expects to generate 57 percent of its power from natural gas by 2020 if low prices and new environmental rules remain in effect.

Southern, based in Atlanta, Georgia, burned more gas than coal during the first quarter as collapsing prices made gas the cheapest fossil fuel in the utility’s four-state region of the southeastern U.S., Thomas Fanning, Southern’s chairman and CEO, said during an interview today.