DistribuTECH 2003 Live in Las Vegas for the First Time

It’s a first for DistribuTECH. For 12 years, the DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition (going back to its early days as the DA/DSM conference) has been a bicoastal affair, gravitating back and forth from East to West Coast locales. This year, for the first time, DistribuTECH will land a little shy of the West Coast—in Las Vegas, Nev.

And why not? After all, what city is better equipped to host the power industry’s leading technology conference than Las Vegas, where electricity itself is part of the attraction on Fremont Street and where one hotel—the Luxor—flips the switch on a 40 billion-candlepower light source every night of the year. Las Vegas is all about power; DistribuTECH is all about making power smarter.

DistribuTECH opens with two days of pre-conference Utility University courses on Feb. 2 and 3, before the main conference begins Feb. 4. This year, DistribuTECH offers more than 30 informative conference sessions, including more than 90 conference papers and panel discussions. In addition, DistribuTECH’s exhibition floor will house the booths of approximately 200 exhibitors displaying the latest utility-focused technology.

Keynote Session

DistribuTECH’s main conference program kicks off the morning of Feb. 4 with the annual Keynote Session. Walter Higgins III, president and CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources, Wanda Reder, vice president of engineering and planning for Commonwealth Edison Co., and Kurt Yeager, president and CEO of EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute, will deliver their keynote addresses starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 4.

Higgins will draw on experience from a successful career in the utility industry as he addresses attendees at the power industry’s leading technology conference. Sierra Pacific Resources is the holding company for Nevada Power Co. and Sierra Pacific Power Co. Higgins was named Sierra Pacific Resources chairman of the board, president and CEO in August 2000. Prior to that, he was chairman, president and CEO for AGL Resources Inc., the holding company of Atlanta Gas Light.

Before AGL, Higgins was chairman, president and CEO of Sierra Pacific from 1993 through 1998. He has also served as president and COO of Louisville Gas and Electric, and worked for 14 years with Portland General Electric where his last position was senior vice president of generation and transmission.

ComEd’s Reder will also share her expertise in power distribution technology as a DistribuTECH keynote speaker. As vice president of engineering and planning, Reder has oversight of distribution operations at ComEd, where she has worked since August 2001. Prior to her work at ComEd, Reder founded and was president and CEO of Ultra Power Technologies Inc., an unregulated subsidiary of Northern States Power Co. (NSP). Ultra Power Technologies offered predictive diagnostic testing for underground distribution cables. By starting this company, Reder was instrumental in introducing reliability-centered maintenance to utilities and encouraging it as a general practice for underground distribution systems.

Before starting Ultra Power Technologies, Reder worked more than 15 years with NSP, developing conservation programs, leading distribution automation efforts, and supervising transmission and distribution planning.

DistribuTECH conference organizers are also excited this year to have EPRI involved the Keynote Session. Kurt E. Yeager, president and CEO of EPRI, rounds out the impressive lineup of Keynote speakers. Yeager became EPRI’s president and CEO in August 1996 after serving as EPRI’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. EPRI, the national collaborative research and development organization for electric power, has evolved from a non-profit electric power research institute to a family of companies encompassing collaborative and proprietary R&D as well as solutions applications in the U.S. and more than 40 other countries.

Yeager joined EPRI in 1974, progressing through a series of technical management and executive positions, from department director to division vice president. In 1990, he became senior vice president for technical operations, responsible for the integrated management of EPRI’s five technical divisions. In 1994, he was appointed senior vice president for strategic development. In this position he was responsible for corporate strategic planning, core research and environmental issue assessment, client services, regulatory affairs, and government relations.

Yeager is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a Trustee of the Committee for Economic Development, and a member of the Conference Board Inc. He has served on the Executive Board of the National Coal Council as well as several National Academy of Engineering Committees and the Energy Research Advisory Board to the Secretary of Energy. He has authored more than 200 technical publications on energy and environmental topics.

Conference Highlights

DistribuTECH’s advisory committee and conference organizers have put together nine conference tracks for 2003. Sessions at this year’s conference will cover distribution automation, distribution operations management, substation integration and automation, mobile work force management, enterprise integration, metering and AMR, distributed generation and demand response. A quick look at all conference sessions can be found in the grid on pages 18 and 19 of this issue.

A few of the can’t-miss sessions at DistribuTECH 2003 include:

* Securing Your Assets by Securing Your Access. Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1 p.m. Among the first group of sessions at this year’s DistribuTECH is this one dealing with information security in the Distribution Operations Management track. One of the greatest threat to our power systems lies in the vulnerabilities of advanced operational technologies, like SCADA, EMS, wireless controllers, etc. The three speakers in this session will share their perspectives on the key threats to our control and automation systems, and the techniques being employed to mitigate those threats.

* Moving DA Communications Forward—”Can You Hear Me Now?” Tuesday, Feb. 4, 3 p.m. Automation engineers know that messaging systems can be the Achilles’ heel of distribution automation systems. DA’s advancement is directly connected to improvements in messaging technology and communications access. This session will highlight some of the advancements that are broadening communications access and increasing information flow.

* A Bird’s-eye View – How AVL Technology can Improve Your Operations

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 9:30 a.m. Utility companies like Potomac Electric, Green Mountain Power and Allegheny Power have learned that automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems can be a valuable operating tool. Representatives from these utilities will tell how they’re putting AVL to use.

* Setting the Table for Viable Demand Response. Wednesday, Feb. 5, 9:30 a.m. Organized by the Peak Load Management Alliance, this panel will present up-to-date information on the status of demand response in the United States. The panelists will address demand response program design principles, market liquidity and transparency, public policy issues, and ways to improve the viability of electric power markets through use of demand response.

* Reaping Financial Benefits Using C&I AMR. Wednesday, Feb. 5, 3 p.m. It’s a common misconception that the only way to meet supply is to build a new plant. Managing demand is faster but is possible only if you know how your biggest and best customers are using power. Presenters in this session tell how an investment in AMR can reap major financial benefits for both the utility and the customer.

* Web Technologies in the Substation. Thursday, Feb. 6, 9:30 a.m. Among the last group of presentations at this year’s DistribuTECH, this session takes a look at how utilities are putting Internet-based technologies to use in the substation. Presenters will discuss Web-enabled HMI technology, XML page structure and relational database functionality as they relate to substation integration and automation implementations.

DistribuTECH 2003 runs Feb. 4-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with pre-conference Utility University courses running Feb. 2-3. More information on DistribuTECH 2003 is available via the DistribuTECH website at www.distributech.com. Those interested in attending can also call (918) 831-9160.

Click here for Conference Sessions in a PDF document.

Editor’s note: The following detailed company listings are provided as a courtesy to those DistribuTECH 2003 exhibitors who showed their support of Utility Automation magazine by advertising in the Jan/Feb issue (as of Dec. 30, 2002).

Beckwith Electric

Beckwith Electric will display the Autodaptive System which includes capacitor controls, and LTC transformer and regulator controls; and digital tapchanger controls which provide universal application through interchangeable panels; communication access to setpoints, configuration, metering data.

Cannon Technologies Inc.

Optimize energy delivery with integrated solutions from Cannon Technologies, featuring the YUKON Advanced Energy Services Platform. End-to-end applications provide integrated Remote Power Factor Management, Advanced Energy Information, Intelligent Asset Monitoring, Genset Dispatch, and unmatched Demand Response, enabling improved system reliability, asset utilization, and value-added services.


Software for distribution planning and operations plus add-on modules for protective device coordination, switching optimization, contingency analysis module, geographic overlay module, reliability assessment module, service restoration module, harmonic assessment module.

Cooper Power Systems

Cooper Power Systems will be exhibiting and demonstrating a wide range of Distribution Automation solutions. Visit our interactive booth introducing PeerComm, the most flexible peer-to-peer communication for your electrical systems.

Data Comm For Business Inc.

Data Comm for Business manufactures and distributes a broad line of data communications equipment including DSU, statistical multiplexers, FRADs routers, wireless, remote access, RS-232, modems, SCADA and LAN interconnection equipment.

G&W Electric Co.

ISO certified global supplier of automated Solid Dielectric and SF6 insulated switchgear; automatic reclosers; automatic transfer and distribution automation solutions; cable terminations and splices; and current limiting protectors.

GE Power Systems

T&D services and solutions including energy management, real-time control, GIS software, substation automation, on-line monitoring and diagnostics, portable test equipment, turnkey substations, project management and engineering, P&C engineering, asset management, and field services.

Honeywell-Cannon Alliance

An industry leader in comfort control joins an industry leader in utility demand response to offer the ExpressStat web-programmable load management thermostat. Stop at Booth #425 (Cannon Technologies) to learn more.

Hunt Technologies Inc.

Hunt Technologies provides the most reliable, cost-effective endpoint information system to utilities. More than 2 million endpoints at over 400 utilities are collecting metering data and outage information for use in utility operations.

Intergraph Corp.

Intergraph Utilities & Communications’ InService addresses outage management, workforce management, crew dispatch, and mobile data needs. A suite of commercial off-the-shelf software, InService provides fully integrated outage and workforce management technology in a single application environment.

Itron Inc.

With more than 2,000 utility clients worldwide, Itron is the leading technology provider and source of knowledge to the global energy and water industries for collecting, analyzing and applying electric, gas and water usage data. Itron’s solution portfolio includes radio-based handheld, mobile and fixed-network AMR systems, as well as telephone-based AMR solutions, to meet the requirements of all customer classes and service environments; web-enabled workforce management solutions; and transmission and distribution system design solutions and services. Itron also provides advanced software solutions and consulting services for collection, analysis and application of load profile data, including enterprise-wide data access, data warehousing, load research, complex billing and settlement, and web-based data access and exchange.

MDSI Mobile Data Solutions

MDSI is the world leader in workforce management. Advantex is MDSI’s field-proven, industry-standard mobile workforce management solution that allows companies to meet customer commitments and provide optimal service delivery, while reducing costs and streamlining operations.


MeterSmart’s metering hardware and web-enabled data applications provide users with advanced utility metering, data collection and real-time energy information. Products and services include submeters, interval data collectors, real-time pricing, on-demand meter reading, daily, weekly and monthly reporting, utility event notification and threshold alarming.

Microwave Data Systems

Microwave Data Systems (MDS), www.microwavedata.com, is a world leader in wireless networking solutions for the SCADA/telemetry, telecommunications, and online transactional markets.

Nertec Inc.

NERTEC is a leader in automated meter reading solutions for electric, gas and water utilities. NERTEC’s AMR products allow service providers to obtain customer consumption readings using telephony (both wired and wireless) as the information transfer medium.

OMICRON Electronics

OMICRON designs, manufactures and markets innovative power system testing solutions—the CMC test system for protective relays, meters & transducers and the new revolutionary CPC 100 for substation testing (lightweight primary injection unit with embedded PC for automated testing).

Open Systems International Inc.

Open Systems International Inc. (OSI) provides open and high performance SCADA, Energy Management, Generation Management, and Distribution Management Systems for electric utilities. OSI will be demonstrating its monarch Linux-based SCADA/EMS/GMS/DMS platforms and Internet-based architecture, e-scada.com.

Panasonic Computer Solutions Co.

For 15 years, Panasonic has focused exclusively on building rugged PCs, like our legendary Toughbook line. With proven reliability, plus wireless capabilities, Toughbooks offer mobile professionals total computing solutions for work in the outside world.

Positron Inc.

Reliability is the key to successful communications. Wire-lines entering into high voltage environments must be properly isolated to avoid damage. For the past 25 years, Positron has been the first choice in protecting critical circuits.


RAMAR is a designer and supplier of radio-based automatic meter reading products that provides remote meter reading systems ideal for water, gas, and electric utilities. Visit our website at www.ramartech.com or call 888-98-RAMAR (72627).

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc.

SEL, an industry leader in power system protection, control, automation, and communications demonstrates digital protective relays, recloser controllers, Ethernet solutions, meters, fiber-optic products, SCADA and integration and information management solutions for any size substation.


Two-way power-line communication system and transponder products for AMR, Load Control, Interval Data, Outage Mapping/Monitoring, Remote Connect/Disconnect, additional value-added services. TWACS needs no feeder conditioning or special licensing—the communications technology uses the utility’s network at the frequency for which it was designed. Visit our booth to see why over 6 million devices have been purchased by ATCO Electric, Florida Power & Light Co., PPL Electric Utilities, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, Wisconsin Public Service Company and over 71 Electric Cooperatives including three of the largest – Lee County, Pedernales and Rappahannock Electric Cooperatives.

Utility Automation magazine

The presenting magazine for DistribuTECH, Utility Automation is the power industry’s leading journal on information technology and utility transmission and distribution automation. More than 23,000 electric utility professionals, energy service providers, managers, engineers, consultants and other qualified subscribers count on Utility Automation to present the information they need to make on-the-mark business and technical decisions every day. Editorial coverage spans distribution automation, substation automation, SCADA/EMS, outage management, AMR, AM/FM/GIS, communications, customer service and more.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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