Our history traces back to the 1880s, when several California companies began generating and distributing electricity. These early innovators would later join forces to become Edison International.
Electricity service was new at the time, and cities around the world were proudly lighting their streets with this new technology. Our namesake, the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, had begun generating delivering electricity throughout New York City in 1882, and as towns and cities developed on the Southern California frontier, people wanted conveniences that were familiar in eastern cities, like electric lights.
Our Earliest Years: Bringing Electricity to Southern California
By 1886, our early predecessor companies were generating electricity and bringing electric lights to towns throughout Southern and Central California. Demand for electricity grew, and in 1894, our predecessors Holt & Knupps and Electric Light Works joined forces to become the Los Angeles Edison Electric Company.
We secured rights to the Edison name and the patent on Thomas Edison’s electricity transmission technology, and built the world’s longest power line, spanning 83 miles, between our Santa Ana river No. 1 hydroelectric plant and Los Angeles. Several years later, we built the world’s highest voltage power line, our 118-mile, 75 kV Kern River - Los Angeles Transmission Line. It was the first in the nation to be entirely supported by steel towers that could withstand storms — an early step forward for power reliability. These were just the start of many of our innovations.
A Customer-Friendly Utility Company
We adopted the name Edison Electric Company of Los Angeles in 1894, after merging with the West Side Lighting Company. Shortly after the turn of the century, we selected a motto that described our leadership philosophy, value, and commitment to customers: “Good Service, Square Dealing, Courteous Treatment.” We would later change the name of our utility one last time, to Southern California Edison, in 1963.
Advances in Renewable Power
In the early years of the 20th century, we built yet another hydroelectric facility – this time, the world’s largest. Still in use today, the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project generated massive supplies of electricity, which fueled the “Red Car” trolley system that traversed Los Angeles for the first half of the 20th century.
In 1927, we expanded into geothermal power, drilling the nation’s first geothermal production well.
Our modern commitment to renewable power dates back to 1980, when we were the first electric utility to make a large-scale commitment to the development of renewable and alternative energy sources including wind power, geothermal, solar, fuel cells, cogeneration and hydroelectric generation. Our commitment continues to this day, and can be seen in our innovation in solar and wind generation.
Diversifying into Competitive Generation and Finance
After many decades of operating solely as a utility, in 1986 we went back to our roots by establishing a non-utility subsidiary, Edison Mission Energy. Our first co-generation effort, the Kern River Cogeneration project, was a commercial success. Later in the 1980s, we developed two more large cogeneration plants in California.
In 1987, we expanded into finance, establishing a predecessor to our subsidiary Edison Capital. Since then, we have made investments in energy and transportation infrastructure in the Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and invested in more than 100 affordable-housing projects.
Throughout the 1990s, we expanded our international presence with power generation facilities in the United Kingdom, Australia, Indonesia, Italy, Turkey, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Investing in Emissions Reduction
In 1999, we established our subsidiary Midwest Generation, and acquired coal plants in Illinois and Pennsylvania. We made a major investment in pollution controls to reduce air emissions, and in the years since we acquired these plants, local air quality has improved steadily.
To reflect our new global footprint, we changed our name to Edison International.
Our Recent History
Over the past decade, we have heightened our focus on renewable energy. We invested in wind farms, and became one of the leading suppliers of wind energy to utilities nationwide. We started building the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, a $2.1 billion infrastructure system that will deliver wind power to as many as 3 million homes in Southern California.
Technology and Our Future
Just as it did 125 years ago, technology is transforming how we generate, manage, and interact with electricity. Our ongoing innovation enables us to expand on our century-old commitment to renewable power, and customer-friendly service. Today, Edison International is a larger, more diversified company than our early founders could have imagined. After more than a century of history, the successes of our past inspire us as we lead the way forward.