By Rod Walton, Senior Editor
|Attendees at DistribuTECH 2015 packed the Exhibit Hall to learn more about the products and services offered by more than 445 exhibiting companies.|
The nation’s biggest annual gathering for the electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) sector is just around the corner.
The 26th annual DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition will be Feb. 9-11 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. This year’s event features close to a hundred offerings with Utility University courses, conference sessions, panel discussions, breakfast roundtables, networking receptions, a utility women networking event, awards ceremony and a keynote featuring a NOVA television host, two of Orlando’s brightest leaders and one of the industry’s best-known entrepreneurs and energy financial analysts.
POWERGRID International is the official publication of DistribuTECH. The Orlando Utility Commission is the host utility.
“DistribuTECH 2016 will once again bring together the best and the brightest that this industry has to offer,” MaryBeth DeWitt, senior vice president of DistribuTECH said. “Our industry experts speak with hard-won insights about dealing with the changes facing all the utilities, their service partners and customers. We are pleased to offer many networking opportunities during the week including breakfast roundtables, our networking party and spontaneous one-on-one and small group discussions.”
The T&D-focused week actually kicks off Monday, Feb. 8, with the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. The Executive Conference program features sessions on dealing with the world of change utilities face, vying for the energy dollar, innovative approaches to growth and how financiers view the future of the industry. Public Service Enterprise Group Chairman, President and CEO Ralph Izzo and Tucson Electric Power CEO David Hutchens will lead an afternoon panel discussion on “The View From the Top.”
This first day is crowned by the DistribuTECH Awards Reception and Dinner presented Monday evening by Electric Light & Power and POWERGRID International magazines. These awards will honor the Utility of the Year, Projects of the Year and CEOs of the Year for both large and small utilities.
DistribuTECH offers a host of other events spread out through Thursday, Feb. 11, including:
|DistribuTECH isn’t all work and no fun. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, some special guests showed up at DistribuTECH 2015, providing attendees with great selfie opportunities. The 2016 event also will include the opportunity to have a little fun in sunny Orlando.|
Utility University Courses
These Monday sessions cover a tremendous amount of ground, from AMI best practices to analytics, capital project justification, demand response markets, distributed generation and integration planning, to name a few. Actually, Utility University offers 22 courses total, featuring experts from across the industry and the globe.
The instructors include industry leaders from many companies, including GE Digital Energy, Britton Consulting, Electric Power Research Institute, Oracle Utilities, Pepco Holdings, Converge, Oncor, Pacific Gas & Electric, Navigant, Quanta, IBM and many others.
DistribuTECH 2016 Keynote and Sessions
Tuesday, Feb. 9’s events start off with a morning keynote address open to all attendees and exhibitors. Keynote speakers are Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando Utilities Commission President Linda Ferrone, Bloomberg New Energy Finance founder and advisory board chairman Michael Liebreich and David Pogue, host of NOVA ScienceNow and Yahoo tech columnist.
Following Tuesday’s lunch, DistribuTECH offers sessions which run over the next two days. Panels include in-depth discussions on issues such asset management (including one sessions on drones), big data and analytics, communications solutions, defending the grid against cyberattacks, demand response, distribution automation, microgrids, emerging distributed energy resources, geospatial and mobile solutions.
One area gaining renewed interest is customer service with several great sessions catering to this important factor. These segments look at how to respond to new customer expectations, engagement, social media, big data and home technologies beyond the meter. Panels in these sessions are peppered with experts from CS Week, National Grid, Dominion, Duke Energy, DTE, Exelon and other prominent utilities.
Breakfast Options, Mega Sessions and Social Fun
Wednesday, Feb. 10, gets interesting early with a concurrent breakfast roundtable and utility women networking breakfast. Both events are separate and have tickets available for purchase.
The popular breakfast roundtables each offer 90 minutes focused on hot topics from the Internet of Things to outage management, smart metering and international projects. Attendees are encouraged to speak up and discuss challenges they face and share best practices in an informally moderated setting.
|DistribuTECH 2015 Keynote featured some of the industry’s brightest leaders, as well as physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku. The standing room only crowd loved it.|
|The 2016 Keynote promises to be the same high quality DistribuTECH’s attendees have come to expect.|
The utility women networking breakfast, as the DistribuTECH official program notes, “brings together women in the energy market to build relationships, share stories and, most importantly, provide real insights to help in your career and professional development.” Some of the most powerful women in the industry will talk about how they got their voices heard and helped influence change in their business.
DistribuTECH’s Mega Sessions top Wednesday afternoon with a host of multi-expert takes on New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, IoT strategies to drive utility value, new revenue streams and a utility approach to building smart cities, among others. The day’s hard work lightens up considerably with two 4 p.m. receptions-the “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere! Reception” on the exhibit floor and the Water Reception, hosted by WaterWorld magazine.
The conference sessions extend into Thursday with speakers leading discussions on operational transitions, reliability improvement and customer analytics.
The numbers behind DistribuTECH speak for themselves: Last year’s event had more than 11,000 attendees from 67 countries, 447 exhibitors, 81 conference sessions and hundreds of utility and industry leaders as speakers.
2016 Highlight of Events*
Monday, Feb. 8
8:00a.m.-5:00p.m. Utility University Courses
8:30a.m.-5:00p.m. ELP Executive Conference, Hyatt Regency Orlando
6:00p.m.-8:30p.m. DistribuTECH Awards Reception and Dinner, Hyatt Regency Orlando
Tuesday, Feb. 9
9:00a.m.-11:00a.m. Keynote Address
1:00p.m.-4:30p.m. DistribuTECH Conference Sessions
Wednesday, Feb. 10
8:00a.m.-9:30a.m Breakfast Roundtable
8:00a.m.-9:30a.m Utility Women Networking Breakfast
10:00a.m.-11:30a.m. Conference Sessions
2:00p.m.-3:30p.m. Mega Sessions
5:00p.m.-6:30p.m. Networking Party
Thursday, Feb. 11
8:30a.m.-10:00a.m. Conference Sessions
10:30a.m.-12:00p.m. Conference Sessions
* all events at Orange County Convention Center unless otherwise noted