By Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia Power Co. is the Southâ¿¿s fifth-best utility for residential customer satisfaction in 2010, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

The annual survey creates a score for customer satisfaction based on six factors: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service.

Georgia Power, a unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), scored 650 out of 1,000 and ranked fifth out of 14 large utilities. The average score for a large segment utility in the South in 2010 was 640. The utility ranked fourth in 2009 with a score of 654.

In the surveyâ¿¿s ranking of 28 midsize utilities in the South, Marietta, Ga.-based Cobb EMC came in 20th place with a score of 632. The average score for the division was 643. Cobb EMC ranked 10th in 2009 with a score of 638.

Nationally, residential customer satisfaction rose this year as monthly electric bill amounts have declined 10 percent on average and power reliability has improved from 2009, J.D. Power and Associates noted. Power reliability has also improved, with customer-reported service interruptions decreasing by 8 percent.

Residential customer satisfaction with utility companies averaged 630 in 2010, increasing from 618 in 2009.

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