Southern California Edison Co. has worked very hard over the last 10 years to develop business relationships with minority and female-owned businesses. George Dean's article (Editorial Pages, April 23) grossly distorts Edison's record in this area, and deserves clarification.
By focusing on construction contractors, Dean has picked one specialized line of business where, despite extensive outreach programs, Edison has been able to identify very few black-owned enterprises that currently perform the type of construction we need to have done.
If Dean had reported on Southern California Edison's overall transactions with minority and female-owned businesses, an entirely different and far more positive picture would have emerged.
Edison did business in 1986 with 488 minority- and female-owned firms, including 43 owned by blacks. We purchased $74.8 million of goods and services from these minority/female-owned firms in 1986, a 30% increase over 1985. Our business with black enterprises totaled $2.5 million in 1986, 60 times greater than Dean's misleading characterization. This is due largely to a vigorous outreach effort in cooperation with a number of minority organizations, including the Southern California Regional Purchasing Council and the Black Business Assn.