Edison International is launching a business that will help reduce energy costs, improve efficiency and offer more environmentally friendly options for large energy users.
The company's new subsidiary, Edison Energy, aims to serve commercial buildings, data centers, retail centers, healthcare operations and educational institutions nationwide.
The new business recognizes sweeping changes affecting energy production and consumption, Edison International executives said Tuesday at a conference titled "The New Energy Future" held at UC Irvine.
With growing opportunities to tap renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and to employ energy efficiency and energy storage, consumers are seeking ways to reduce their utility bills and the impact of electricity use on the environment.
Energy companies such as Edison also are working to navigate the changing energy landscape as consumers increasingly become self-generators of electricity. That has disrupted the utility and power company business model, which historically generated and distributed electricity rather than balanced a system that includes consumers as energy sources.
"We certainly see our industry evolving, transforming," said Ted Craver, chairman and chief executive of Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison. "There certainly are some threats to our corporation that come from that."
Craver said the Rosemead company decided to embrace the changing energy world.
Edison Energy brings together three firms recently acquired by Edison International: EnerActive Solutions, a New Jersey consulting company; Delta Energy Services, an Ohio consulting company; and Altenex, a renewable energy procurement company.
Combining those companies gives Edison Energy, based in Irvine, more than 200 employees. Edison Energy isn't part of Southern California Edison and isn't regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.
As part of forming Edison Energy, Edison International surveyed 500 large energy users.
Some of those surveyed weren't sure how much they were spending on energy. There was a lack of strategic planning in dealing with energy and its costs. Many said they lacked information sources they could trust.
"Who do you trust with all of these new technologies?" asked Allan Schurr, president of the new Edison Energy during Tuesday's meeting. "We know it's hard to find."
Consumers and energy providers, Schurr said, are having to think about energy in different ways. "Energy as a service is a different way of thinking than energy as a commodity," he said.
Michael Bates, global energy director of Intel Corp., said the ability of companies and consumers to choose how they get their energy is pushing energy providers to change.
"As my dad used to say, 'The toothpaste is out of the tube,' " Bates said. "There are so many choices that customers are getting today. The old model is dead."
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