What a pleasure it was to welcome hundreds of utility professionals and hundreds more exhibitors who braved the recession, swine flu and every other stumbling block to participate in CS Week 2009 and Conference 33 in Washington, D.C.
Utility attendees came with clear ideas of what they were looking for and what solutions they wanted to take back to work. Many began their week with CS Week College, followed by a day in either an application-user synergy group or the new business process synergy groups, especially Legacy CIS. The exhibit hall was packed as utility decision-makers and prospective users visited with our sponsors and exhibitors.
The Expanding Excellence Awards, co-sponsored by CS Week and Electric Light & Power, provided some of the most effective learning experiences all week. National Grid and Garland Power & Light were named the large and small winning utilities for Innovation in CIS. EPCOR and Artesian Water won for their projects in Expanding a Legacy System. PHI Holdings and Tampa Electric jointly won the Class I award for Innovation in Customer Service while Vermont Gas earned the Class II award.
Acknowledging the value of information to be shared and garnered, we expanded the time available with the winners in all six categories, including honoring the winners in the CS Week booth and providing comfortable conversation areas. Friday morning awards workshops–Innovation in Customer Service, Expanding a Legacy System and Innovation in CIS–were full of peers from other utilities facing similar issues and full of questions.
The CS Week Web site, http://csweek.org, is a primary resource year-round for IOUs, municipalities and cooperatives to find utility services and vendors, cross-referenced by products and services. The most significant addition this year is the smart grid category and the vendors and consultants serving that segment, as well as AMI/MDM, energy efficiency and conservation. The products and services link is active on most pages within the Web site and is updated throughout the year.
CS Week continues to expand its efforts to go green. Implementing suggestions gathered at CS Week 2008, the Washington meeting replaced plastic water bottles with sports bottles and chilled water stations and eliminated paper handouts in workshops, making all presentations available online to attendees. Likewise, a number of exhibitors took advantage of a video presentation produced by PennWell to more fully expand upon and showcase their products online to utility personnel unable to attend the 2009 exhibit hall.
New for CS Week 2010 will be Canada Day, a one-day forum focused on Canada-specific topics. Kerry Tarasoff is heading the development committee as they evaluate a range of political, regulatory and financial issues facing Canada’s utilities.
As the first sets of utility budgets are finalized, reserve a portion to join your peers at CS Week 2010 and Conference 34 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn. We have negotiated a reasonable room rate. With the support of our sponsors and exhibitors, this will keep registration costs among the lowest in the industry.
Jerry Duvall, CEO, CS Week