Southern California Edison Continues Commitment

To Strong Economic Growth in Southland Region

By Barry R. Sedlik,

With Southern California’s economy again flexing its muscle amid encouraging signs of increasing growth and optimism, Southern California Edison (SCE) continued to play a leading role in the recovery during 1996 and into this year.

SCE, a subsidiary of Edison International, a global energy-services company, is the nation’s second-largest electric utility (based on the number of customers), serving more than 4.2 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 50,000 square-mile territory encompassing much of central, coastal and southern California.

In a time when both the private and public sectors must continue and even increase their commitment to the economic future of Southern California, Edison serves its community with pride, dedication and an eye toward retaining and expanding present commercial activity in the region, while attracting new business; focusing attention on developing and maintaining a positive business climate, and increasing the region’s overall competitiveness.

Edison has a long-standing tradition of investing personnel, funds and resources into the territory it serves. For more than 110 years, the company has been a significant partner in developing Southern California and its economy, helping build commercial infrastructure, assisting community-improvement organizations and consistently supporting accessible, quality education for all students.

Edison in the Community

Since 1991, Edison’s total commitment in contributions and programs that support the economic and social vitality of the region exceeds $50 million. The company specifically targets economic and business development, education and community support.

Over the past five years, Edison’s business attraction, expansion and retention efforts have helped keep 446 companies, representing 104,000 jobs, in the region. The company’s parallel business-expansion activities continually assist companies in identifying new venture capital, adopting new technology and exploring opportunities in overseas trade.

Edison supports needed educational reform through its parent-involvement initiative, Parents for Student Success, and a technology effort, which assists schools in placing computers into classrooms. The company’s New Era Scholarship Awards provide more than $500,000 annually to deserving students.

Through its Corporate Contributions, Edison supports the United Way and other community-based organizations working to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the area. Edison employees also contribute significant amounts of their own time and money to scores of worthwhile local activities.

Economic and Business Development

Edison realizes that its own future well-being is directly linked to the economic growth and vitality of the Southern California region. The company’s Economic & Business Development Group offers a variety of free, confidential services that address energy, environmental and economic challenges facing the area’s commercial interests.

Edison’s economic development personnel help businesses identify available resources in the region. Specifically, they assist with business support systems, development programs, workforce readiness and educational opportunities.

The company has developed a statewide computer network,Team California online,to link economic development professionals and provide real-time communications and leads for regional entrepreneurs.

Working with the Greater Los Angeles World Trade Center Association and other trade export networks, Edison produces studies on overseas commerce and conditions. The company has continued sponsorship of its highly-successful, well-praised Investor Forums, at which new businesses and their leadership are introduced to venture capitalists who are looking for investment possibilities.

Edison offers three new Economic Development Rates (EDRs) which are designed to help encourage manufacturing and film operations to retain and expand their Southern California presence, as well as attract new industry to the region. The EDRs, for retention, expansion and attraction of business, provide five years of rate discounts to eligible film and manufacturing customers with demands greater than 200kW and less than 4,000 kW of load at the time of application. The discounts are 25 percent, 20 percent, 15 percent, 10 percent and 5 percent for years 1 to 5, respectively, and are designed to be a strong incentive for these companies to remain in Southern California, or move to the region. Customers will pay their established rates in the sixth and seventh year of the agreement at then-prevailing rates.

The EDR discounts apply to the energy and demand costs of electrical energy service, which includes the generation, transmission and distribution components. In exchange for these discounts, customers agree to maintain a specified level of electricity consumption over this seven-year period.

The EDRs are Edison’s way of acknowledging the tremendously important role of manufacturing and film production play in maintaining the health of Southern California’s economy. The goal is to preserve jobs and expand the regional economic base.

In addition, Edison business development personnel work closely with customers, advising on energy efficiency and equipment, system services and support, and rate-pricing options.

The company also sponsors and actively participates in local and regional business-development conferences and forums, as well as panels on infrastructure and energy concerns for Southern California. Edison’s Communications Center offers a single point of contact for commercial customers needing information or assistance regarding attraction and expansion of new industry and business retention. Businesses can call Edison’s toll-free Economic & Business Development Hot Line (1-800-3-EDISON) to request material or reach a project manager for more detailed assistance.

Saving Jobs in the Region

Direct intervention on the part of Southern California Edison to retain and expand existing regional businesses during 1996 resulted in the preservation of 30,250 local jobs. The company continues to play an active role in bringing together government officials, trade and commerce agencies and the investment community in order to help businesses stay in Southern California and expand production and employment opportunities. During 1996, Edison assisted 106 regional firms, many of which would have relocated out of the area, the state and even the country, taking with them precious jobs and a significant part of our economic base.

Edison assisted companies in a variety of ways, from helping to develop solutions to improve customers’ energy-related business systems, facilities and equipment to identifying new sources of operating capital. The company offered qualified customers flexible and innovative rate-pricing options which provided discounted energy costs. Working closely with local governments and regulatory agencies, Edison helped streamline the oversight process, which allowed regional firms to expand and hire more people.

Other regions and states offered very attractive relocation packages to regional businesses, including tax incentives, low-cost property, limited regulations and the prospects of lower operating expenses. Edison worked with government, other businesses and civic leaders in order to help put together the right combination of incentives and assistance which would keep businesses here. The successful result was retention of jobs, a stronger economic base and the growing perception that California is “business friendly”.

In cooperation with organizations like the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, the California Manufacturing Technology Center and the California Trade & Commerce Agency, Edison provides valuable education and training for business leaders and managers, helping them run their operations in a cost-efficient manner, with an eye towards expanding production and job rolls.

A specific example of Edison’s effort to keep jobs in the region is the work it did with Kushwood Manufacturing, a maker of oak furniture. Based in Buena Park and employing more than 400 people, Kushwood had been looking into possible production sites out of California. It wanted to consolidate its multiple operations and expand manufacturing capacity by 30 per cent. Kushwood cited rising labor costs and air-quality issues as primary reasons it was considering a move away from the region.

With more than 400 jobs at stake, and the potential loss to the regional economic base, Edison and the California Trade & Commerce Agency developed a multi-faceted plan to convince Kushwood to remain in Southern California. The firm enrolled in both Edison’s Retention and Expansion EDR programs, saving itself a significant amount of money. Edison helped Kushwood develop a viable plan to manage its electricity rates, one which allowed it to remain competitive within its industry, while allowing for its desired expansion. Kushwood recently moved into its new, expanded 450,000 square-foot facility in the City of Ontario.

For more than 110 years, Southern California Edison has lived up to its reputation of being an innovative and proactive partner in the development of the region’s economy. The company has continually demonstrated its commitment to the Southern California region, its economic and commercial vitality, its workforce and residents, and to solving the problems which affect everyone who lives and works here.

Edison looks forward to continued strong and successful leadership during the coming years and into the next century.

Barry Sedlik is manager of economic and business development for Southern California Edison. For more information on available services and assistance, call Edison’s business project managers

at 1-800-3-EDISON.

No posts to display