The West Georgia Generating Facility in Thomaston has a new name. It is now the Edward L. Addison Generating Plant, named in honor of the former Southern Company chairman, president and CEO. The dedication ceremony happened Monday afternoon.
Addison worked for more than 40 years for Southern Company and served as its chief executive from 1983 to 1995. During his tenure the construction of the first nuclear units at Plant Vogtle were completed and Savannah Electric was acquired.
Oscar Harper, CEO of Southern Power, the Southern Company subsidiary that owns the natural gas-fueled generating facility, compared the plant to Addison’s career.
“This plant provides enough electricity to supply over half a million homes,” said Harper. “When we evaluate the performance of our plants, we look at three criteria – safety, reliability, and community service. This plant has gone for 13 years without a single safety report. That doesn’t happen without the commitment and dedication of the employees. Over the last three years, this plant has been available 99.9 percent of the time to serve its customers. This plant is a true partner in the community it serves. Mr. Addison, you represented excellence throughout your career. This plant represents excellence to Southern Power, and we’re proud to have your name on it.”
Tom Fanning, current Southern Company CEO, said it is fitting to name the generating plant after Addison.
“When I think about the notion of this plant being named for Ed, I think it is exceedingly appropriate that this is one of our flagship units in our competitive generation league,” said Fanning. “Ed anticipated the growing role of competition in our industry, and that recognition occurred well before it happened in the United States. It really prepared us to be the strong player that we are today. Southern Power is arguably the greatest competitive generation company in the United States.”
Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold and Upson County Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston also spoke about the connection between the plant and the community.
“It would be an understatement for me to say today that we are privileged and honored to have this facility here. There are 159 counties in this state and over 500 cities and towns, and yet, we are one of very few who are privileged to have a Southern Company generating facility in our community,” said Mayor Arnold. “We suffered great economic losses here in our community with the loss of the textile industry a decade or more ago. The presence of this facility has been an enormous benefit to the community. You are our largest single property tax payer in our community, and indeed, pay about 1/80th of all property taxes that are collected within the city of Thomaston. For that I can say only a generous, heartfelt thank you. In addition, you are a wonderful corporate citizen, and the employees at this plant are a great help in our community.”
Arnold went on to suggest that if Southern Company would like to do so, the city would be happy to change the name of the road leading to the plant from Yamaha Parkway to the Edward L. Addison Parkway.
Blackston said he was proud Upson County was able to assist in honoring Addison for his vision and drive.
Addison thanked everyone and said to be honored in this manner after having been retired for 18 years is really special.
He said he still wonders at having worked at Southern Company and been its chairman and CEO after growing up on a small farm in South Carolina. But he added that it has always been the employees that have made the company great.
“The strength and integrity of the employees of this company helped us to fight the battles and keep the ball rolling and moving the company along,” said Addison. “I can’t imagine for someone like me, coming from where I did, to work for this great company and been its Chairman and CEO. I’ll always be grateful. Today is just the icing on the cake.”