DistribuTECH Preview San Antonio

by Kristen Wright, Senior Editor

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The 24th annual DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition will return to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio for the second time Jan. 28-30. There is still time to register for North America’s No. 1 electricity transmission and distribution show at www.distributech.com.

Organizers of the 2014 show expect some 10,000 attendees, more than 450 exhibitors and more than 350 of the industry’s leading speakers in 79 conference sessions in 15 tracks and five mega sessions.

DistribuTECH’s sister conferences will be in San Antonio, as well, and there are a few changes.

Utility University

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Utility University will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 26 and run through 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27. These 28 intensive classes–including six water-specific ones–fill up quickly. Tracks include big data, communications, customer strategies, cybersecurity, DA/DMS, demand-side management, DER integration, grid storage, smart grid, smart metering, system integration, smart substations and standards. Reserve a spot through the DistribuTECH website, www.distributech.com.

Awards Dinner

For the first time, the magazine’s Projects of the Year finalists and winners will be announced live at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 during the awards dinner in the Lonesome Dove room at the convention center. The cocktail dinner also will honor Electric Light & Power’s Utility of the Year and Large and Small Utility CEOs of the Year. What’s more, the dinner is now open to the public. It’s a great way to hobnob with the industry’s most powerful executives and toast to their successes. Tickets are $45 and may be purchased through the registration page on the DistribuTECH website.

Electric Light & Power Executive Conference

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Also new, the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference will begin Monday, Jan. 27 and wrap up Tuesday, Jan. 28 at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio. This schedule differs from previous years when the conference began on a Sunday.

“Utility executives told us they were having to leave on Saturday to make it to the executive conference when it began on Sunday, so it wasn’t as travel-friendly as it could have been,” said Teresa Hansen, the event’s program chairwoman and Electric Light & Power editor in chief. “It was an easy fix, and we’ve already seen our registration numbers rise. This year’s executive conference should be the best in its five-year history.”

This year’s theme is Winning the Ratepayer-to-Customer Revolution. For the first time, the conference will feature a closed-door session about who owns data. Keynote speakers are energy journalist Robert Bryce and famed high school basketball coach Ken Carter. Other speakers include execs from ComEd, SDG&E, Southern California Edison, PSE&G, the University of Southern California and USAA Bank. Registration is $595, and a full upgrade to DistribuTECH is $790. Visit www.elpconference.com to register.

Utility Products Conference & Exposition

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Utility Products Conference & Exposition will be co-located again with DistribuTECH. It brings the pages of Utility Products magazine to life and brings together buyers and sellers of power, telecom, CATV and water equipment, providing them an opportunity to learn firsthand about their industries’ latest products.

Registration is $75 and includes access to five workshops and nine product demonstrations in the Presentation Theater on the exhibit floor with more than 450 exhibitors, the opening keynote session, and opportunities to network with linemen from all over the country during networking receptions. Visit www.utility productsexpo.com to register.

DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition

Tuesday, Jan. 28. Nearly everyone is using social media, and utilities and their customers are part of the trend. Who better to kick off DistribuTECH at 9 a.m. than keynote speaker Randi Zuckerberg, former director of market development for Facebook and CEO of Zuckerberg Media? Joining her will be NV Energy President and CEO Michael Yackira and CPS Energy President and CEO Doyle N. Beneby.

The exhibit hall will open at 11 a.m. immediately after the keynote, and a delegate lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the exhibit hall.

Conference sessions will begin at 1 p.m. and run until 4:30 p.m. Tracks are: advanced metering; big data; customer strategies and technology; cybersecurity; demand response and energy efficiency; DER and renewables integration; enterprise information and asset management; GIS and mobile solutions; grid communications; international projects; renewables, transmission and policy; smart distribution management; smart grid operations solutions; substation integration and automation; and water utility technology.

From 5 to 6 p.m., exhibitors can enjoy hors d’oeuvres, drinks and networking among the more than 450 companies’ booths during the opening reception in the exhibit hall.

Wednesday, Jan. 29. Breakfast roundtables will open day two from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Conference sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. The exhibit hall will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a delegate lunch being served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the exhibit hall.

Choose from five mega sessions from 2:30 to 4 p.m.: Lessons Learned From Superstorm Sandy Executive Panel; IOU CIOs: Developing Solutions to Support Customer Engagement; Chapter 2: What Happens to Smart Grid Initiatives After DOE Funding?; Bring Your Own Thermostat: Residential Demand Response Program Field Results; and A Global Look at Smart Grid’s Progress and Future.

Sponsors will celebrate It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere from 4 to 5 p.m. at their booths. And when the clock really strikes 5 p.m., POWERGRID International will throw a Networking Party in the Grand Ballroom. Attendees and guests are invited to join the festivities, which will feature food, drinks and live music.

Thursday, Jan. 30. Conference sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at noon, and the exhibit hall will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. PennWell’s annual drawing for a car will be at 1:30 p.m. at Booth 100. This year’s car is actually a truck, and you must be present to win.

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Kristen Wright is a senior editor of Electric Light & Power and POWERGRID International magazines, as well as the Electric Light & Power Executive Digest and CS Week Bulletin e-newsletters. She is a committee member for PennWell's DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition and the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference. Kristen joined PennWell in 2003 as an assistant editor for Dental Economics magazine. She was promoted to associate editor of that publication, plus Woman Dentist Journal, Proofs, RDH, Dental Graduate and Grand Rounds in Oral Systemic Medicine. She also has worked as a PennWell textbook editor. Kristen has 13 years of journalism experience in daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, television news, public relations, photography and graphic design and layout.

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