(Corrects headline and first paragraph to say Southern Co beat analysts' estimates. Adds adjusted earnings and analysts' estimates in paragraph 6.)
July 25 (Reuters) - Power company Southern Co's quarterly profit beat analysts estimates as lower costs offset a fall in residential and commercial energy sales.
Southern Co added 20,000 new residential customers in the first six months of 2012.
Strong residential customer growth was the latest indicator of a continuing economic recovery in the Southeast, Chief Executive Thomas Fanning said.
Near-normal weather during the second quarter, however, hurt sales, the company said. Residential and commercial energy sales decreased 4.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Profit rose to $623 million, or 71 cents per share, in the second quarter from $604 million, or 71 cents per share, a year earlier.
Profit on an adjusted basis was 69 cents per share. Analysts had expected 68 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue fell about 8 percent to $4.18 billion while costs fell 10 percent. (Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore)