DistribuTECH Returns to TAMPA


By Kathleen Davis, Senior Editor

In 2010, DistribuTECH celebrates a milestone—a 20th anniversary. Running March 23-25, 2009, at the Tampa Convention Center, DistribuTECH covers the smart grid, automation and control systems, energy efficiency, engineering, demand response, renewables integration, power delivery equipment and water utility technology. With two decades behind it, DistribuTECH knew the grid before it was smart, and it continues to lead the way in information exchange and utility education. From instructional Utility University courses to experts delivering the latest industry details, DistribuTECH will bring a lot of experience to Florida in March.

The Utility Products Conference and Exposition (UPCE) is returning in 2010 and will be co-located with DistribuTECH in the Tampa Convention Center. In addition, a new event this year, the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference is scheduled to run just before DistribuTECH, March 21 and 22, at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel.

DistribuTECH 2009 in San Diego brought a record number of people to the bayside conference center in San Diego with nearly 5,800 attendees and more than 300 exhibiting companies. In 2010, DistribuTECH is expected to break that record with nearly 6,200 professionals expected to grace the halls of the Tampa Convention Center.


Utility University

 Attendees can make the most of a DistribuTECH experience by attending pre-conference courses. Utility University courses are relevant, topical, issue-concentrated classes that occur before the full conference begins. Courses are taught by recognized experts in their respective fields and are held in a classroom environment to maximize the learning experience.

Attendees discuss a variety of topics at the DistribuTECH breakfast roundtables.

This year, Utility University offers popular courses from previous years as well as a few new courses and topics. Utility University has both full-day and half-day courses on Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22.

Full day courses include:

  • Cost-effective Distribution Reliability Improvement
  • Automation for the Smart Grid
  • Smart Substations for the Smart Grid
  • AMI Information Technology and System Integration
  • Utility Communications Planning
  • Distribution Planning Methods
  • Substation Automation and Enterprise Data Management
  • Distribution Automation
  • IEC 61850 for End Users

 Half-day course selections cover topics from intelligent SCADA communication to how to integrate asset management and DNP3 in real world situations.

The Tampa Convention Center once again hosts DistribuTECH in 2010.

Tickets are required for admission to each course. Only those registered with a ticket for a particular course will be admitted. There are a limited number of seats per course. Attendees can register for Utility University courses using the overall conference registration form, which can be found online at the conference Web site: www.distributech.com.

Opening Keynote

DistribuTECH 2010 will officially kick off with an opening keynote session on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. The keynote will feature Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, Gordon Gillette, president of DistribuTECH host utility Tampa Electric Co. and Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.

Jon Wellinghoff was named chairman of FERC, the agency that oversees wholesale electric transactions and interstate electric transmission and gas transportation in the U.S., by President Barack Obama on March 19, 2009. Wellinghoff has been a member of the Commission since 2006. Wellinghoff is an energy law specialist with more than 30 years experience in the field. His speech opening DistribuTECH 2010 is sponsored by Oracle Utilities.

Attendees enjoy a bayside view while attending the DistribuTECH convention in Tampa. The convention center is located right on the water.

Gordon Gillette was promoted to president of both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, combining the functions and operations of electric and gas under one management team for the first time at TECO Energy. He is responsible for operations, including energy supply, energy delivery and engineering. Gillette joined Tampa Electric as an engineer for the production and planning areas in 1981.

Dubbed “the funniest man in America” by the New York Times, nationally-syndicated columnist Dave Barry has been splitting sides for over a decade with his sharp observations on any and all aspects of American society. Barry won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for distinguished commentary. In addition, Barry is a best-selling author.

A Peek at the Conference

After the keynote, the conference opens with a bevy of learning opportunities. Sessions are broken down into related tracks, including: advanced metering, customer service, demand response, distribution automation, enterprise information and asset management, mobile and geospatial solutions, renewables and the grid, SCADA, substation automation, T&D engineering and operations, transmission, and water.

Metering is always a popular track at DistribuTECH, and the 20th anniversary sessions include a look at AMI, case studies, best practices and Texas smart meters.

In “Smart Meters in the Lone Star State” on Thursday, March 25, 2009, speakers from CenterPoint Energy, AEP Texas, R.W. Beck and Oncor will focus on the status of three leading Texas utilities’ smart meter programs from planning to implementation challenges.

Another session of interest will be “How Your Customers Will Be Operating Your Grid” on Tuesday, March 23 as part of the customer service track. In that session, speakers from Enmax, IBM and OGE Energy will examine energy from the consumer side. There is no shortage of smart grid projects. However, large-scale deployments are new enough that the industry is still learning how these capabilities will affect long-term customer behavior, as well as how that behavior may impact operations.

The customer service track also includes sessions on outage management, smart grid data and meter data management deployment, while the demand response track covers smart buildings, best practices, home area networks and integrating sustainable operations.

One popular session in the distribution automation track is sure to be “Designing Distribution Management Systems for Smart Grid Strategy” on Tuesday, March 23. Many utilities will buy distribution management systems as part of their smart grid strategy. Since these systems are advancing rapidly, it is crucial for the utility planners to get a good grasp of the latest technology. Presenters in this session will discuss their experiences in designing and implementing distribution management systems at three utilities.

UPCE and the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference will also offer informative conference sessions to attendees. UPCE features three tracks: safety and training, equipment and technology, and storm restoration. Speakers will discuss temporary grounding practices, NESC safety updates, protective clothing, fleet safety, trenchless technology and other topics.

The Electric Light & Power Executive Conference will feature sessions on new business models, investment, managing stimulus funding, plug-in hybrid vehicles and options for raising capital.

Networking Opportunities

Despite all the great options for education, DistribuTECH is not all learning and no play. There are plenty of social opportunities to simply sit and visit with colleagues, acquaintances and new friends. In fact, DistribuTECH has become renowned for its networking events. In 2007, DistribuTECH threw the best Super Bowl party in the city. In 2008, there was record attendance at the Gasparilla Pirate Parrrrty and, in 2009, San Diego’s Hard Rock Hotel was packed with people for the Rock “ËœN’ Roll Networking Reception. In 2010, DistribuTECH throws a bash to celebrate its 20th anniversary from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24. Attendees and guests are invited to join in the birthday festivities which will feature food, drink and live music . DistribuTECH and UPCE exhibitors and delegates get in free to the party. Visitors, guests and spouses need to register for the reception for a fee.

The registration desk at DistribuTECH is always bustling with activity.

The 20th Anniversary Networking Reception isn’t the only networking opportunity at DistribuTECH. There’s an opening reception held on the floor on Tuesday, March 23 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. There you can enjoy hors d’oeuvres, refreshing drinks and networking with industry colleagues while viewing more than 300 companies’ exhibits.

A second exhibit floor reception follows on Wednesday, March 24 right before the 20th Anniversary Networking Reception. Called “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere,” the party will run from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the sponsors’ booths: OSI, PTMW, RW Beck, Tensing, IBM, OSIsoft, Tendril and Trimble.

If attendees want to mix networking with a bit of learning, DistribuTECH offers a number of breakfast roundtables, as well as a breakfast keynote. These roundtable discussions provide an excellent opportunity to network with peers and meet industry experts while taking in a hearty meal. Roundtables with specific industry topics will be moderated by leading professionals in each field. An informal format makes the roundtables a great way to share information and learn about specific topics.

DistribuTECH 2010 roundtable topics include:

  • Smart Grid Integration
  • Smart Grid Building Automation
  • DMS/Feeder Automation for System Reliability
  • Adding Cyber Security to Legacy Systems
  • Transmission
  • Renewables
  • Demand Response
  • Building Automation and Metering
  • Distribution Automation and Smart Grid
  • Distribution Automation
  • Asset Management
  • Water
  • Mobile and GIS
  • Technologies that Touch the Customer
  • AMI for Smart Grid
  • Substation Automation and Enterprise Data Management
  • Substation Automation
  • NERC CIP for Substations

Additionally, on Thursday, March 25 DistribuTECH will offer a breakfast keynote on “The Evolving Smart Grid Vendor Landscape: Key Trends and Implications for Utilities.” The smart grid sector is experiencing unprecedented momentum both in the U.S. and internationally. Smart grid projects are being deployed at an increasing rate. To maximize opportunity from this growth, many T&D and smart grid vendors are looking for ways to quickly gain scale and expand their product offerings in smart grid. At this special breakfast keynote session, a panel of financial professionals and industry leaders will address how the vendor market is evolving and the implications for utilities. The breakfast keynote session will be moderated by DistribuTECH program chair and POWERGRID International magazine editor-in-chief Teresa Hansen.

A Few Final Notes

Besides the fabulous conference sessions and networking opportunities at DistribuTECH, attendees also have the chance to visit the show’s large exhibit floor, which will feature more than 300 exhibitors. Plus, one popular part of the show and exhibit floor attendance at DistribuTECH is the car giveaway, which will be continued in 2010. This year, someone will drive away in a new Chevrolet Camaro.

A Utility University course is always a great way to open the show.

In addition to all the excitement of DistribuTECH, this year’s two companion shows also are available to attendees. UPCE will be located at the Tampa Convention Center. It will bring the pages of Utility Products magazine to life with buyers and sellers of power, CATV, telecom and water equipment together in one place for an in-depth look at the tools that make the utility industry run smoothly.

UPCE will provide the field worker with practical solutions to everyday problems. This intimate event will allow attendees to be a part of product demonstrations, workshops, training and conference sessions while also providing them access to exhibits from companies with solutions and products for the workplace.

DistribuTECH registered attendees can attend UPCE for free. Simply check the UPCE box on the DistribuTECH registration form to register.

In addition to UPCE, if attendees come to Tampa early, they can visit the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference. The Electric Light & Power Executive Conference is an intimate event where industry colleagues can network and discuss the industry’s future challenges and opportunities. This inaugural event will include a variety of topics that appeal to the business and financial side of the industry. The event is designed for utility executives who are tasked with helping their utilities create smart and efficient power delivery systems. For more information on the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference, or to register for the event, please visit the Web site: www.elpconference.com.

With such a wide range of conference sessions, exposition and networking opportunities and even the chance to win a Camaro, DistribuTECH 2010 promises to brighten up Tampa with a number of powerful, interesting options for attendees this March.


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