Southern California Edison Company

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Southern California Edison (SCE) is the largest electric utility in California and one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric utilities, serving more than 13 million people in 15 counties of central, coastal and southern California. Based in Rosemead, California, the utility has been providing electric service in the region for more than 120 years. SCE is a subsidiary of Edison International, which also is headquartered in Rosemead. The SCE service territory includes approximately 430 cities and communities with a total customer base of approximately 4.8 million residential and business accounts. SCE is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

SCE's earliest predecessor was Holt and Knupps which in 1886 installed street lights in Visalia, California. In 1894, a group including Elmer Peck and George Baker organized West Side Lighting to provide electricity in Los Angeles. The next year the company merged with Los Angeles Edison Electric, which owned the rights to the Edison name and patents in the region, and Baker became president. Edison Electric installed the first DC-power underground conduits in the Southwest. In 1899, Edison's Santa Ana River No. 1 hydroelectric plant began operation, transmitting power to Los Angeles over the world's longest power line (83 miles). In 1907, Edison's Kern River-Los Angeles Transmission Line began operation. At 118 miles and 75 kV, it was the world's longest and highest voltage power line, and the first line in the nation to be entirely supported by steel towers.

John Barnes Miller began his 31 year service as company president in 1901, the same year that the Edison Electric Company of Los Angeles recapitalized as a $10 million corporation. In 1909 after another recapitalization the corporate name was changed to the present Southern California Edison Company (SCE). Under Miller's leadership, the firm bought many neighboring utilities and built several power plants. In 1917, SCE doubled its assets through a merger with Henry E. Huntington's Pacific Light and Power Corporation. The centerpiece of the merger transferred ownership of the Big Creek hydroelectric project to SCE - Big Creek eventually became one of the world's largest hydroelectric projects.

At the same time SCE increased its generation and transmission assets through the merger with Pacific Light and Power, it also was losing a major customer in the city of Los Angeles. Beginning in 1912, the city of Los Angeles began developing its own city-owned power department and conflict with SCE ensued. In 1917, SCE and the city of Los Angeles reached a settlement under which SCE sold its combined distribution system within Los Angeles to the city for $12 million. SCE continued to operate the system under lease until 1922, since the city of Los Angeles required that time to develop the generating capacity to serve its new system.

During the middle years of the twentieth century, SCE faced a number of natural and economic challenges. A 1925 earthquake and the 1928 collapse of the St. Francis Dam severely damaged SCE's facilities. The Great Depression and World War II had a significant effect on SCE's continued growth and access to economic and natural resources. Human resources also proved to be an issue in these years as World War II constricted SCE's access to workers and in 1953 SCE faced a major employee strike.

SCE survived these difficult decades and in 1964 consolidated its eastern service area by merging with the California Electric Power Company (also known as Calectric). Through this merger, SCE gained access to Calectric's 450,000 customers and 41,500-square-mile territory. A second significant mid-1960s event for SCE was the 1963 initiation of construction of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). SONGS Unit 1 began operation in 1968. In addition to nuclear energy, SCE has also supported the development of renewable and alternative energy resources such as wind, solar and geothermal. Today's Southern California Edison is the product of more than a century of providing reliable electric service to central, coastal and southern California.

From the guide to the Southern California Edison Company, 1848-1989, 1911-1965, (The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Southern California Edison Company, 1848-1989, 1911-1965 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Batchelder, Dean E. person
associatedWith Boulder Canyon Project (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith California Public Utilities Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Central Valley Project (Calif.). corporateBody
associatedWith Chavannes, Albert. person
associatedWith Edison Electric Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Edison Electric Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Edison, Thomas A. (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931 person
associatedWith Edmunds, Elizabeth Erickson. person
associatedWith General Electric Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Huntington, Henry Edwards, 1850-1927 person
associatedWith Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Calif.). corporateBody
associatedWith Mullendore, William Clinton, 1892- person
associatedWith National Electric Light Association. Convention. corporateBody
associatedWith Pacific Gas and Electric Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Railroad Commission of the State of California. corporateBody
associatedWith Redinger, David H. person
associatedWith Tennessee Valley Authority. corporateBody
associatedWith United States Reclamation Service. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Shaver Lake (Calif.).
Big Creek (Calif.).
Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.).


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