Edison International Company History Timeline


In 1887, the first commercial hydroelectric plant in the West was built at the community of Highgrove near the City of Riverside.


Likewise, in 1890, the Ventura Land and Power Company installed hydroelectric generation to power arc lights in downtown Ventura, thereby catching up with their Santa Barbara neighbor further up the coast.


In 1891, local businessman Henry Sinclair and Doctor Cyrus G. Baldwin, the first president of Pomona College, co-founded the San Antonio Light and Power Company.


1892: Introducing three-phase alternating current generation

In 1892, Henry Sinclair formed the Redlands Electric Light and Power Company to provide power to the Union Ice Company for the new electric motors in its ice-making facility in Mentone.


In 1894, the recently constructed Mill Creek hydroelectric plant powered electric pumps installed to irrigate many of the orange groves in Redlands.


In 1895, The Kaweah Power and Water Company was formed to survey the potential development of hydroelectric facilities on the Kaweah River above Visalia and Tulare County.


Most history texts consider the Niagara Falls to Buffalo, New York transmission line as the first long-distance electric line in the nation built in 1896, but the reality is that Decker did it four years earlier in San Antonio Canyon.

1896: Meeting Los Angeles' fast-growing need for electricity

In 1896, Henry Sinclair of the Redlands Electric Light and Power Company teamed up with Henry Fisher, a prominent Redlands resident, to form the Southern California Power Company to pursue the construction of a new hydroelectric facility on the Santa Ana River.


To eliminate the growing overhead clutter of power, telegraph, and telephone lines in downtown Los Angeles, the City Council adopted an undergrounding ordinance in 1897.

In 1897, the San Gabriel Electric Company was formed to construct a hydroelectric facility on the San Gabriel River in Azusa Canyon.

He had joined Westside Lighting as its General Manger in 1897.


1898: Hydroelectric power & the Santa Ana River

In 1898, he purchased the Los Angeles Railway known popularly as the "Yellow car" system.


The Azusa Hydro Plant began transmitting power into Los Angeles along a 23-mile transmission line in 1899.


1902: Henry Huntington & the electric trolley


By 1903, Eastwood had completed an exploration of the hydroelectric potential in the area of Shaver and Huntington Lakes.


1904: Investing in the Kern River Co.


In 1906, the Ventura County Power Company was incorporated and acquired the electricity systems in Ventura, Oxnard, and Santa Paula.

The Imperial Irrigation District had been formed in 1906 to organize irrigation investments to serve local farmers.


1907: The world's highest-voltage transmission line

In 1907, Edison Electric began producing power from its newly constructed Kern River Hydro Power House.


Southern California Edison was organized in August 1909 to acquire all of Edison's properties.


In his quest for electricity to power his growing trolley empire, Henry Huntington would eventually pour massive financial resources into developing Big Creek beginning in 1910.

1910: The largest privately financed hydroelectric project of the era


1912: City of Los Angeles buys facilities from SCE


1913: Building Big Creek to supply electricity to Los Angeles


1914: Selling excess power to Ventura County


Also in 1917, the city of Los Angeles purchased Edison's distribution system inside the city, and began to buy power wholesale from Edison for its municipal plant.

1917: The firm acquires Pacific Light & Power Corporation and a controlling interest in Mount Whitney Power & Electric Company.


1920: Sale to City of Pasadena


In 1921, SCE had four 18-foot kayaks built and, in partnership with the United States Geological Survey, began a survey of 800 miles of the Colorado River from Green River, Utah to Needles, California to determine the best location for hydroelectric dams.


Through 1928, the area's population was growing so rapidly that Edison had no problem using this greatly increased capacity.

1928: The world's largest highest-head hydro plant


By the end of 1930, revenues had reached $41 million, and the balance Edison had achieved between hydroelectric and steam generation helped protect the company against fluctuating earnings due to weather problems or fuel-price hikes.

In 1930 the company changed its name to Southern California Edison Company Ltd.

In 1930 construction began on the Boulder Dam--later renamed Hoover Dam--project.


1931: The world's largest man-made lake

The project was huge, amounting to one-twelfth of the federal budget in 1931.


In 1939, SCE began receiving its share of power from Hoover Dam across a 220 kilovolt transmission line that had just been completed.


Late in 1943, Southern Sierra capitulated and sold its local facilities to IID.


In 1946, SCE switched its 50-cycle system to a 60-cycle system to conform with this standard.


SCE built a generating station at El Segundo in 1954.


1956: Investing in smog research & pollution control


One of these was the Huntington Beach Steam Plant that began operations in 1958.


In 1960 almost half of Edison's power output was fueled by natural gas, more than one-third by oil, and the rest primarily hydroelectric.


1962: Expanding to Catalina Island


1964: SCE merges with CalElectric


In 1968, SCE completed construction of its 450 megawatt San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Unit 1.


By 1970 when the share fueled by natural gas was down to 56 percent, the company began to enter long-term oil supply contracts in anticipation of this reversal continuing.


Mohave Generating Plant began operations in 1971.


By 1973 Edison ranked behind only New York's Consolidated Edison, Chicago's Commonwealth Edison, and the Southern Company of Atlanta, Georgia in gross revenues for electric companies, bringing in nearly $1 billion.

The oil embargo of 1973 created difficulties for many utility companies, including Edison, and the price of electricity increased throughout the United States.

In response to environmental concerns and the high fossil fuel prices following the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, SCE ceased its efforts to market more electricity and initiated customer conservation programs to encourage its customers to use electricity more efficiently.


In 1978, SCE and Union Oil agreed to design, construct and operate a 10-megawatt geothermal power plant at Brawley, near the Salton Sea.


In 1980 Edison began generating 3,000 kilowatts with a wind-powered turbine at San Gorgino Pass near Palm Springs, California.

Within a few months of being named chairman in 1980, Gould unveiled a plan calling for a major commitment to alternative and renewable energy sources in the coming years.

1980: Edison begins to focus on alternative and renewable energy.


In 1981 oil, gas, and coal supplied the fuel for 70 percent of the company's 15.5-million kilowatt capacity.

In 1981 it purchased the steam required to produce about 10,000 kilowatts of power from a geothermal well operated by Union Oil Company of California.


Bryson, a former head of the CPUC, had joined Edison in 1984 as chief financial officer.

1984: The Cool Water Coal Gasification Project


By 1987 Edison was the second-largest electric-generating company in the United States, earning a company record $789 million that year.

1987: Another engineering wonder at Big Creek


Company records were set in 1990 in both earnings and revenue.

Howard Allen retired in 1990, and was replaced as chairman and chief executive of both SCEcorp and Edison by John Bryson.


The company's financing arm, Edison Capital, began investing in affordable housing projects and in 1993 started to provide financing to the Dutch national rail authority.


1995: Acquisition in Wales


1996: SCEcorp changes its name to Edison International; deregulation begins in California's energy sector.

A second venture, Solar 2, began operations in 1996.


California's market opened up to competition in 1998, which marked the beginning of a chaotic period for California's citizens, the state's utilities companies, the government, and investors around the world.


1999: Edison Mission Energy in Indonesia & New Zealand


2005: Extending useful life of San Onofre plant


2009: Obama visits SCE electric vehicle facility


2010: San Onofre plant's new steam generators


2013: The end of the San Onofre nuclear plant

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Edison International is 137 years old.

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