After a four-year absence from the West Coast, the DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition will return to San Diego for its 15th annual event, which takes place Jan. 25-27, 2005, with pre-conference Utility University workshops on Jan. 23 and 24.
The last time DistribuTECH came to San Diego, in early February 2001, California was still struggling through an energy crisis, and conference organizers noted-only half-jokingly-that the show would be a success if the lights at the San Diego Convention Center managed to stay on throughout the week of the conference.
The lights did stay on, and that conference in San Diego still stands as the most highly attended DistribuTECH in its decade-and-a-half history. Conference organizers expect the upcoming trip to San Diego to be as successful as the last-but without the threat of rolling blackouts this time. More than 4,000 attendees are expected at the San Diego Convention Center to enjoy more than 50 conference sessions in 11 tracks. Between conference sessions, which will cover the gamut of electric power T&D and water utility technology, attendees will have the opportunity to get an up-close-and-personal look at the products and services of more than 200 exhibiting companies.
Earn Professional Development Hours at Utility University
The five days of activity at DistribuTECH 2005 begin with two days of Utility University courses on Jan. 23 and 24. At last year’s event in Orlando, DistribuTECH organizers for the first time made it possible for Utility University attendees to earn professional development hours through these pre-conference workshops. Since DistribuTECH is authorized as a continuing education provider by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, those professional development hours (PDH) will be available once again at DistribuTECH 2005. Many states recognize the courses that the Florida Board authorizes, so attendees should check with their state’s governing boards to see if the courses they take are eligible for professional development hours.
Full- and half-day Utility University courses at DistribuTECH will cover such topics as T&D asset management, distribution automation, substation automation, field force automation, automatic meter reading (for both power and water utilities), broadband over powerline technologies, SCADA, cyber security of utility control systems, coping with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, and more. Full details on the 2005 Utility University curriculum are available at www.distributech.com.
Keynote Session Bridges Business, Technology Issues
After the pre-conference Utility University courses, the main conference will kick off Tuesday morning, Jan. 25, with the opening keynote session. Three speakers with diverse backgrounds will offer keynote attendees a balance of T&D business and technology information.
As chairman and CEO of DistribuTECH’s host utility, San Diego Gas & Electric, Edwin A. Guiles will provide the welcome to beautiful San Diego and give attendees a glimpse of the current challenges and opportunities facing the California power industry. California may not be at the center of media attention like it was the last time DistribuTECH came to San Diego, but it’s still a state dealing with the aftermath of the 2000 energy crisis, transmission system constraints, and other universal utility challenges. SDG&E and its parent company Sempra Energy are companies constantly working to improve service and reliability to customers. Guiles’ presentation will be a valuable one for all attendees, regardless of what part of the world they are working in.
Jean Reaves Rollins, managing partner with the C Three Group, will focus her presentation on the financial challenges that face all utility companies. Rollins notes that since 2001 the capital expenditures of regulated utilities have dropped almost 44 percent. While many of those cuts have come from the generation side of the business, utility managers-and those selling products and services into the utility industry-know that almost no utility department has escaped the cost-cutting unscathed. Rollins will draw on the most recent findings of the C Three Group as she discusses whether utilities are likely to loosen the purse strings in the future and how these tough financial decisions will affect DistribuTECH attendees-both those on the utility side and on the vendor side of the equation.
Much has been written about the “smart,” “self-healing” power grid of the future. DistribuTECH’s third keynote speaker is president and CEO of an organization committed to bringing that concept to life. T.J. Glauthier is president and CEO of the Electricity Innovation Institute (E2I), an affiliate of EPRI. Through its Consortium for an Electric Infrastructure to Support a Digital Society (CEIDS), E2I is working with a number of power industry players to develop the architecture and technologies to transform the nation’s current T&D systems into a digital, self-healing infrastructure to support a full range of customer needs for the 21st century. Glauthier’s keynote will touch on the progress that E2I is making and is sure to be of interest to DistribuTECH attendees.
Something for Everyone
After the keynote session, attendees will have the opportunity to visit with more than 200 providers of innovative solutions on the DistribuTECH exhibit hall. The hall is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, the conference’s final day.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to sit in on any of the 50-plus conference sessions in the following tracks: distribution automation; distribution operations management; substation automation and integration; mobile and wireless technologies; enterprise integration; metering, AMR and data management (one track focusing on power; another on water); demand response; T&D business issues; power delivery (a track covering everything from the transmission system to distributed generation); and water automation strategies.
There will also be a number of networking opportunities available at DistribuTECH. Receptions on the exhibit floor, a power breakfast on Wednesday morning, a networking reception on Wednesday night and three different technical tours will allow attendees to visit with and learn from their colleagues from across North America and from around the world.
There’s still plenty of time to sign up for DistribuTECH 2005. Full details are available at www.distributech.com.