Smart Energy Decisions exclusive
Edison International made waves in the utility world March 29 when it announced the launch of a new, nonregulated business subsidiary that will work in a consultancy/advisory capacity for large energy users. The creation of the new unit, Edison Energy, marks the first leap by a large investor-owned utility into the advisory and energy management services arena, though industry observers had long-speculated a trend in that direction may begin to unfold.
After conducting what Edison International called “perhaps the most comprehensive study ever done on the role of energy in large organizations and the challenges and changes in corporate energy management,” the company said it realized that electric power customers, especially large commercial and industrial companies, have more energy choices than ever, driven by a complex, fragmented and often confusing mix of technologies, business models, and pricing structures available in the market. Allan Schurr, president of Edison Energy, says his company, which is taking on an “energy as a service” model, will work to simplify things for C&I companies and the employees tasked with their energy management.
Prior to taking the helm at Edison Energy, Schurr spent more than ten years IBM Corp. after holding executive and leadership positions at Itron Corp., Silicon Energy Corp. and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. He brings with him a unique perspective from the IT world, an industry he says has undergone a similar change to the one currently facing utilities. One example? Just as the role of information technology managers was transformed at big corporations — think: the creation of the role of chief information officer — as technology advanced, so, too, Schurr expects, will the role of energy managers as energy technologies advance.
Schurr recently sat down with Smart Energy Decision for an exclusive interview to discuss the role of his new company in more detail. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.