Southern Company ranked highest among 29 energy utilities in the University of Michigan's latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The company's score of 82 is an increase of two points over last year and well above the utility industry's average score of 73.

Southern Company has finished either first or second in the annual survey since 1998.

"We're pleased with the results because the foundation of our business model is serving our customers," said Barbara Hingst, vice president of marketing services for Southern Company. "Through this survey they are telling us that we are focusing on their needs."

ACSI reports scores on a 0-100 scale at the national level and produces indexes for 10 economic sectors, 43 industries and more than 200 companies and federal or local government agencies.