Electric utilities know that the growth of distributed energy resources, more informed and active customers, and new markets and regulations will force them to take shapes that are very different than the ones they have today.

A Knoxville, Tenn.-based electric-power research, engineering and consulting firm has been working with Southern California Edison to create a foundation that can support whatever transformation electric utilities need to undergo.

As part of SCE’s grid modernization strategy, EnerNex has been helping the utility develop the architecture for a next-generation grid management system, or GMS.

A subsidiary of Rosemead, Calif.-based Edison International, SCE is developing the GMS for its own use. But it’s also making the details of its work available to other electric utilities, as well as electric-utility regulators and vendors. That will enable it to get feedback about the GMS from its peers, as well as give the vendors an idea of the types of products and services that electric utilities are likely to need in the coming years.