Focused on the Future Distributech Conference & Exhibition Returns to Orlando

By Rod Walton, Senior Editor

The 26th annual DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition heads east this year with three days in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. The nation’s biggest and best annual show focused on the electric transmission and distribution sector, DistribuTECH-and its leadoff event, the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference-will offer a bounty of information, insights and networking opportunities to the thousands who attend it.

DistribuTECH returns to The City Beautiful-Orlando’s motto-after 12 years away. At that time in 2004 the event had 3,700 attendees and 200 exhibitors, but it has grown a little since then. More than 12,000 attendees and more than 440 exhibitors are expected to fill the spacious, palm tree adorned convention center.

David Pogue, NOVA ScienceNow
Michael Liebreich, Bloomberg

DistribuTECH will officially kick off at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, with the keynote session. This two-hour opening session will feature Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; Orlando Utilities Commission President Linda Ferrone; Michael Liebreich, founder and advisory board chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance; and David Pogue, host of NOVA ScienceNow and founder of the Yahoo Tech website.

Dyer and Ferrone will discuss how they worked together to help make Orlando what they believe is the southeast United States’ greenest city, while maintaining some of the highest electricity reliability metrics in the nation.

Liebreich will talks about investment in clean energy and global trends that are impacting the power industry.

Pogue brings with him a rich, versatile background. A childhood magician and spelling bee champion in Ohio, he studied music, English and computer science at Yale before moving to New York after college.

He will talk about the world’s latest technologies and trends. Be ready-Pogue might even sneak in a magic trick or two.

But the thing that DistribuTECH really has up its sleeve will show itself candidly-unprecedented levels of information pertinent to those who make their living working in or with the power grid. From Utility University courses to Breakfast Roundtables to Mega Sessions, the conference offers dozens of experts who all have vast experience to share with the industry.

Outside look at the Orange County Convention Center’s West Hall, where DistribuTECH 2016 will take place. (Courtesy photo)

The 19 breakfast roundtables, which start at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, all offer good food and conversation on new opportunities and challenges faced within the industry. Those include cutting-edge stuff like augmented reality, wearable technologies, GIS, grid protection and energy storage.

Multi-track conference sessions-focused on crucial industry topics such as advanced metering, grid analytics, outage management, mobile solutions and asset management-will run in two different afternoon time slots Tuesday. Experts also will lead sessions Wednesday and Thursday on everything from renewable integration to network evolution, security, drones, grid storage and next-generation substations, among many others.

Wednesday’s Mega Sessions, which all run in the afternoon, will feature executives with National Grid, SGIP, Landis+Gyr, S&C Electric, Oracle Utilities and Consolidated Edison, among many others. The topics range from integrating distributed energy resources to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) to the dynamics of new revenue streams for electric utilities.

Attendee having fun throwing giant dice at last year’s DistribuTECH event.

The benchmark for getting a Mega Session on the DistribuTECH schedule is very high: only seven abstracts were accepted out of about 800 submitted. And one of them is historically significant in the sense it will be comprised entirely of utility-industry women. “New Revenue Streams for Electric Utilities,” which begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday, will feature female leaders such as Melisa Johns, Duke Energy; Mona Chandra, National Grid; Gail Allen, Kansas City Power & Light; and Deborah Affonsa, Pacific Gas & Electric. Chrissy Carr of Burns & McDonnell will be the moderator.

During Thursday’s conference sessions, everything is on the table from asset management to what drones can offer the T&D sector. The latter session will look to the sky and the potential of drones for inspection and data consistency.

Attendees also can take advantage of abundant networking opportunities. These get-togethers include the opening reception at 5 p.m. Feb. 9, the Utility Women Networking Breakfast which, like the roundtables, starts at 8 a.m. Feb. 10. The DistribuTECH “Fun in the Sun” Networking Party will begin at 5 p.m. Feb. 10, in the Valencia Ballroom of the Orange County Convention Center.

The week’s activities actually begin Monday with the Utility University Courses at the convention center. These 22 courses will drill down into nitty-gritty, specific industry challenges. A separate registration is required for each Utility University course.

Go to and click on the conference button to see the entire schedule at a glance.

Registration costs vary according to how much the attendee wants to experience. Individual fees for the full conference are $925-with a discounted rate of $495 for utilities-but options are available for single-day attendance, exhibitor hall only pass and utility partner programs. Go to and find the various options under the “register” tab.

The Electric Light & Power Executive Conference, DistribuTECH’s sister event, also will begin on Monday, Feb. 8 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando.

“Orchestrating the Future” is the title of the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference program this year. Five sessions will be offered that day, led by executive leaders from diverse companies such as Eversource Energy, PwC Strategy&, Comcast, AT&T, San Diego Gas & Electric, Public Service Gas & Electric, Bloomberg and Consolidated Edison of New York.

The final session of the afternoon features CEOs from highly regarded utilities. This stellar group includes Ralph Izzo, CEO of this year’s Utility of the Year PSE&G and its parent Public Service Enterprise Group; David Hutchens, CEO of Tucson Electric Power and its parent UNS Corp.; and Great Plains Energy CEO Terry Bassham, who leads Kansas City Power & Light and is being honored as Electric Light & Power magazine’s Large Utility CEO of the Year.

Last year’s DistribuTECH exhibit hall was filled with attendees wanting to learn more about the latest industry technologies.

Those aforementioned awards and other honors will be revealed Monday evening during the DistribuTECH Awards Reception and Dinner presented by DistribuTECH, Electric Light & Power and POWERGRID International magazines. The awards event begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are $65.

The past year was full of big and innovative projects within the industry. The DistribuTECH Awards highlight some of those and announce winners in four areas. The finalists in each category are:


  • National Grid for its WeatherBug program
  • PPL Electric Utilities for Universal Outage Alerts


  • Duke Energy Ohio’s HàƒµM Energy Manager
  • Pacific Gas & Electric for its Supply Side Pilot


  • Hawaiian Electric Co.’s rollout of In-Line Power Regulators
  • San Diego Gas & Electric’s Advanced Distribution Management System

GRID OPTIMIZATION (formerly known as Smart Grid Project of the Year)

  • BC Hydro for its Downtown Vancouver Automated Open Loop
  • CenterPoint Energy’s Advanced Metering and Intelligent Grid Initiative

Altogether now, the numbers behind DistribuTECH are impossible to ignore: more than 12,000 attendees from more than 60 countries, about 440 exhibitors, 14 conference tracks, 77 sessions, 428 total speakers, seven mega sessions and three live webcasts. If strength is in numbers, then the conference surely offers a muscular examination of what’s important in the T&D, smart grid, customer service and energy storage sectors.

Registration fee for the EL&P Executive Conference is $595 and includes an option to add DistribuTECH at a reduced rate. Go to for registration information.


Official hashtag: #DTECH2016

Advertising Exhibitions

POWERGRID International is proud to feature advertisers that also are exhibiting at DistribuTECH 2016 (as of Dec. 22, 2015)


ACS is a leading provider of smart grid solutions and advanced automation technology to the global electric power industry. For 40-plus years, ACS has pioneered control center solutions which include SCADA, advanced distribution management (ADMS), outage management (OMS), energy management (EMS), network simulation and optimization, network display strategies and ergonomic design.


American Perimeter Security manufactures an array of perimeter security products. These products range from vehicle barriers, bollards, gate systems, security fencing and guard booths.

BARCO 1533

Barco offers the complete T&D control room visualization solution that enhances situational awareness while facilitating real-time collaboration to empower smart decision-making in 24/7 control centers.


For nearly a century, Doble Engineering Co. has partnered with electric power industry clients to minimize risk, improve operations and optimize system performance. Doble provides enterprise management systems (such as dobleARMSTM), engineering consulting services and expertise, as well as diagnostic testing and monitoring equipment.


Fibox is a leading global manufacturer of non-metallic NEMA 4x enclosures. With over 1,500 off-the-shelf sizes and styles ranging from 2″x 2″ to 24″x 24″ molded of impact and UV resistant polycarbonate material. Fibox is ISO certified and all of our enclosures carry UL listngs.


G&W Electric has been a global supplier of electric power equipment since 1905. Our products are designed to the latest industry standards and backed by over 105 years of engineering expertise. Brands include Lazer automation, Viper solid dielectric reclosers, Trident solid dielectric switches, and CLiP current limiting protectors.


Grid One Solutions specializes in AMI deployments for electric, gas and water utilities. In addition to smart grid implementation services for in-home displays and load control devices, Grid One performs meter reading, field service work, customer call center operations and back office services including secure data transfer and storage.


HD Electric Co. will be displaying our line of capacitor control with three-phase monitoring and gang- or single-phase switching capability. VarCom Capacitor Controls provide remote control from central Volt-VAR, CVR, DMS or SCADA systems and can control capacitor banks using combinations of ambient temperature, time, voltage, current and kVAR.


Hubbell Power Systems manufactures a wide variety of transmission, distribution, substation, underground, communications, protection and enclosure products including overhead and pad-mounted switches, vacuum switches, reclosers, capacitors, sectionalizers, motor operators and products to monitor and protect the grid.


Kyland is a global company with focus on products for Industrial Control Networking. We provide vertical market solutions in industrial networking and time synchronization. Our mission is to build the next generation industrial control ecosystems based on Internet connectivity.


Leidos designs, connects and protects intelligent infrastructure to deliver better business outcomes in a connected world. Demo areas: Grid engineering, smart grid as a service, utility security, critical communications, and cloud-based analytics.


Mitsubishi offers a wide line of data wall products to control center environments that include interchangeable light devices, LED technology and fiber-optic cable connections.


Moxa offers IEC 61850-3 communication and computing solutions for substation automation. Our industrial grade products ensure reliable operations even in the most demanding conditions. Ask us about device control, computing and communications to easily build an efficient and effective smart grid.


Customers in 147 countries rely on Omicron’s ability to provide innovative testing and diagnostic solutions for the electric power industry. Products: Test instruments for protective relays, CTs, instrument transformers, meters, transducers, IEC 61850 devices, reclosers/distribution automation, PQ analyzers; power factor, moisture in insulation, dielectric frequency response, SFRA, circuit breakers, advanced transformer diagnostics, PD.


Open Systems International (OSI) provides open, state-of-the-art and high-performance automation solutions to utilities worldwide. These solutions include Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems, network management systems, energy management systems, distribution management systems, outage management systems, generation management systems, substation automation systems; data warehousing and historians, as well as individual software and hardware products and smart grid solutions for utility operations.


POWER Engineers is an international leader in power delivery. We bring strength, depth, and expertise to utilities facing system upgrades, multi-faceted projects, or unique space, capacity and performance issues. From electrical system studies and utility automation to distribution and testing and energization, our teams excel in design and implementation of power delivery systems.


As the global experts in communication, monitoring and control for industrial automation and networking, Red Lion Controls has been delivering innovative solutions to customers for over forty years.


Take a self-guided tour of our NEWSEUM highlighting Utilities in-the-News, listen to power interviews taking place in our News Nerve Center, experience live demonstrations or simply request a private discussion in one of our green rooms.


SAP is the leading provider of premise and cloud based utilities solutions worldwide. SAP for Utilities solutions help improve operational efficiency, mitigate risk and increase profitability, helping clients gain enterprise-wide visibility for better decision making and improved responsiveness in mission-critical areas.


Chicago-based S&C designs and manufactures energy storage, power quality, switching, and protection products for electric power transmission and distribution. S&C’s sophisticated software and power-electronic products deliver uninterrupted power to entire facilities efficiently and reliably.

SATEC 1731

SATEC’s product line serves both energy utilities and energy consumers in various fields. Our devices span from basic power meters up to high performance grid meters with advanced power quality capabilities. The advanced power quality capabilities enable energy utilities to take timely corrective action and help energy consumers to prevent equipment failures.

All SATEC devices comply with world-acknowledged regulations and are supported by our energy management software.


Sensus helps a wide range of public service providers-from utilities to cities to industrial complexes and campuses-do more with their infrastructure to improve quality of life in their communities. We enable our customers to reach farther through the application of technology and data-driven insights that deliver efficiency and responsiveness. We partner with them to anticipate and respond to evolving business needs with innovation in sensing and communications technologies, data analytics and services.


Industry leading utility field services company.

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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

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