By Casey Wian

Northampton, MA –News Direct– Edison International


Diversity, equity and inclusion are essential elements of Edison’s leadership towards a clean energy future.

In September 2020, during some of the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the massive Creek Fire devastated the community around Southern California Edison’s Big Creek Hydroelectric Generating Station. In response, SCE created a tent city for more than 1,500 recovery workers, including electrical crews, vegetation management crews and virus screening personnel. To complicate matters, a key supplier was unable to meet project requirements. And now?

“The only reason we were able to successfully address this was because of the diversity of our supplier base,” recalled Jim Niemiec, SCE’s vice president of operational services and chief purchasing officer. “We needed things we don’t usually buy, like tent city services. Sure enough, we discovered an LGBTQ certified supplier who could deliver what we needed in such an emergency. It was just the power and strength of the relationships within our diverse supplier community.”

Niemiec shared this anecdote during a round table at the Edison Electrical Institute Corporate Diversity Conference in Los Angeles, organized by SCE. EEI President Tom Kuhn moderated the discussion, which included Marlon Merritt of Entergy Corp., Johnny Howze of Southern Company and Jaspreet Singh of DTE Energy. Niemiec also highlighted how SCE is transforming its procurement approach to attract diverse bidders. This commitment was warmly applauded by the gathering of energy industry leaders from across the country who met with potential suppliers and stressed the need for diversity, equity and inclusion to respond to an unprecedented set of challenges, from climate change to rising energy costs to supply chain disruptions.

“Our supply chain partners, which include various trading companies, are essential to all the work we do. Various suppliers support us with the laying of sheathed conductor, with the design and construction of electric vehicle chargers and with vegetation management,” said Steve Powell, President and CEO of SCE. “Partnerships with various companies provide us with a competitive and sustainable supply base.”

“I meet with all the executives in the organization and have a conversation about how to be inclusive leaders,” said Eric Watson, who celebrated his first anniversary as director of diversity and inclusion. of SCE at the conference. “Culture matters, so if you want top talent, you have to have a culture that’s going to embrace what the population is asking for. If you’re not exposed to different people, if you don’t meet different people, if you don’t don’t immerse yourself in a different culture, we can’t become culturally competent.”

Last year, SCE spent $2.44 billion with more than 620 diverse suppliers and subcontractors, approximately 38% of the company’s total spend with third parties. The company has also invested $1.3 million in technical assistance and mentoring programs and is helping $20 million in shareholder funds per year for diverse and underserved communities. The economic impact of SCE contracts with various companies: over $3.5 billion and 23,000 jobs in 2020 alone.

In recognition of its commitment to African American business, SCE was honored as “Utility Company of the Year” by the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce at its annual economic awards dinner on May 19.

“Like one wants our workforce and our leaders and Board of Directors to reflect the communities we serve, we also need vendors and suppliers who represent the great diversity of our Southern California home,” said Pedro J. Pizarro, President and CEO of Edison International and Vice President of EEI in his address to the speakers.

“When I look at everything we do, we know we need the support of our diverse suppliers to help lead the transition to a clean energy future,” Pizarro said.

To learn more about SCE’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, visit

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