Atlanta-based electricity provider Southern Company ( SO) said Thursday that its quarterly earnings rose 3% over the same period last year. The company generated $762 million, or $1 a share, in the most recent three months, compared with $738 million, or 99 cents a share, during the same period one year earlier. Earnings for the third quarter were 99 cents a share before including the effects of synthetic fuel investments, matching the expectations of a Thomson Financial analyst survey. Southern had $4.83 billion in revenue in the quarter, up from $4.55 billion in the third quarter. This was partly due to a 1.5% increase in its customer base during the quarter, according to a company press statement. Residential electricity sales rose 1.5% last quarter. Commercial sales jumped 2.8%, and industrial sales fell 1%. "Our business units continue to perform well -- operating at historically high levels of reliability, achieving industry-leading customer satisfaction levels and continuing to offer retail prices more than 17% below the national average," said Chairman and CEO David Ratcliffe in a statement. Southern has 4.3 million electricity customers in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. Shares of Southern were recently up 1.3% at $38.18.