ATLANTA, Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today announced that Southern Company's national accounts team is among the nation's best at consistently delivering outstanding customer service to leading chain and multi-site businesses. The company was honored for Sustained Excellence in EEI's 2012 National Key Accounts Customer Service Awards program, receiving recognition for sustained efforts over the years to deliver excellent customer service. This is the 10th year Southern Company has been recognized. "This award represents not only the 'whats' of our business – making, moving and selling electricity – but also the 'hows,' making our communities better because we're there, keeping customers at the center of all that we do," Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning said. "It's not enough to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable power. We want to be the best at how we do it, to be bigger than our bottom line." In addition to the company recognition, regional account managers Janet Booker and Chris Smith received individual awards. Booker was one of three industry-wide recipients of an individual Sustained Excellence Award, and Smith was one of six national recipients of an individual Outstanding Customer Service Award. Booker has worked with national brands in the hospitality, home improvement, office supply and discount sectors. Smith's accounts have included major national restaurant chains, department stores and grocers. Southern Company's national accounts organization serves more than 125 large, multi-site customers that represent approximately 25,000 accounts within Southern Company's service territory, with a focus on building strong relationships and delivering value. Since its inception in 1988, EEI's National Key Accounts Program has addressed the unique and growing needs of those commercial customers with multiple sites or outlets, including chains and franchise operations. Through the National Key Accounts network of electric utilities, these businesses gain a single point of contact at each utility. A national accounts manager offers a variety of valuable services, including expediting new service connections, providing information about rates and suggesting ways to improve energy efficiency.