It's clear (SO) has significant competitive advantage based by its sheer size alone. As of right now it has a rock-solid dividend of 5%, and has provided significant share price appreciation over the last 30 years. Even with a downturn in GDP it appears to be a safe haven in a significantly beaten down market.
Government Regulation: It is pretty clear now that the government is becoming a quite a nuisance to (SO) and its bottom line. Every year the company is required to spend more and more on clean solutions. Also Obama SEEMS to be very opposed to coal-burning generation, which will be another significant expense for (SO) if they are forced to upgrade. And last but not least, let us not forget about government price controls that can be used at anytime.
VERDICT: Regardless of the above mentioned downside, this company has a great track record, has a huge competitive advantage and appears to be a safe haven in a troubled market. Look for $50+ per share over the next 5 years.