One of the Golden State's largest utilities, Southern California Edison (SCE) distributes power to a population of more than 14 million people (4.9 million customer accounts) in central, coastal, and southern California (excluding Los Angeles and some other cities). SCE has 5,574 MW of net generating capacity from stakes in nuclear, hydroelectric, and fossil-fueled power plants (although it has sold a number of its fossil-fueled facilities in response to the state's deregulation legislation). The utility sells excess power to wholesale customers. SCE is a unit of utility and competitive power holding company Edison International.
The utility's system consists of about 12,000 circuit miles of transmission lines, more than 103,500 circuit miles of distribution lines, and more than 700 distribution substations.
SCE's 50,000-square-mile service area includes more than 400 cities and communities in central, coastal, and southern California.
In 2011 a rate increase and a $95 million increase in FERC capital reimbursement revenue related to the Tehachapi Transmission Project (a major transmission project) helped to raise SCE's revenues by 6%, compared to flat growth in 2010. However, net income only grew by 5% in 2011 due to higher purchased power prices and an increase in operating expenses and depreciation costs.
In recent years the utility has been ramping up its green energy options in order to comply with the state of California's aggressive long term renewable energy goal (which in 2011 was boosted from 20% of power output to 33%). That year SCE generated 21% of its power from renewable sources.
In 2011 SCE had a purchased renewable energy capacity of 3,720 MW, including about 2,060 MW from wind sources, 960 MW from geothermal, and more than 380 MW from solar. In late 2011 SCE reduced its development pipeline of potential wind projects to 1,300 MW in order conserve cash.
The utility offers power contract options designed to help smaller biomass generators and is installing up to 150 solar photovoltaic installations on Southern California commercial rooftops. SCE is also installing smart electric meters -- digital, two-way communication devices which allow customers and the utility to better manage energy use than the older mechanical meters can. The company plans to have 5 million smart meters installed by the end of 2012.
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