2001 IEEE T&D Expo

Atlanta, 30 Oct – 2Nov 2001

This was a large event, with over 9,000 attendees, 500 exhibitors, and 150 technical papers. Sponsored by the IEEE Power Engineering Society, it focuses strictly on T&D technology, though a number of special panel sessions dealt with big picture questions.

A great deal of information is still available online at:
Using the buttons on the left side, “Conference” goes to a complete program listing, and “Exposition” to the exhibitor list, complete with urls for most companies. The technical papers were published on a CD.

–Opening Session

Teddy Püttgen, PES President Elect, opened the conference with the comment that electric utilities continue to be “technology enabled” rather than “technology driven”, but that is changing. Allen Franklin, CEO of the Southern Co, explained that the spinoff of Mirant enables SoCo to focus specifically on the southeast. with its vertically integrated companies, competitive generation, and new services. He sees transmission as the hottest issue, e.g. in Congress. John Rice of GE Power sees big promise in digital networking of generation and T&D. David Stump of ABB expressed a similar vision, applying ABB’s corporate-wide “Industrial IT” strategy to the utility industry. Based on the experience in the UK, Ian Davis of National Grid talked about the need for incentives for T&D investment, efficiency and performance, leading to an emphasis on asset management. Franklin came across as a very traditional utility executive, when he dismissed fuel cells, quoting “30 years ago fuel cells were almost ready. They still are.”

–SuperSession- Deregulation

The presentions were far ranging and exhaustive, and it would take many pages to give the full flavor. Charles Stalone (former FERC commissioner) took a long time to explain the issues before Congress, to strike the right balance between free markets and protections against market power abuse. David Jermain, Anderson Consulting, gave an entertaining review of the history of California’s debacle– based on a very faulty design, state officials made it much worse once things began to unravel. (I have his powerpoint presentation which he kindly sent, along with an ok to share it selectively.) Mark Rossi (Barker, Dunn & Rossi) reviewed utility deregulation around the world. Many countries are doing it, some quite successfully, though no-one gets it right at first. Richard Tabors (Tabors, Caramanis & Assoc) discussed regulation of generators, and pointed out that price volatility is intrinsic to any commodity market–it’s the journalists who renamed it “spikes” in the case of electricity. Finally Paul Addison (SolomonSmith Barney) said that customers really care about total price, not the profits of individual players. Service penalties and bonuses are needed if there is to be any incentive for investment in T&D.

–“How to Become a 3rd World Utility”
In a panel session on T&D Reliability, Jim Burke of ABB outlined 10 steps to reducing reliability.
1. Eliminate experienced engineers; replace with young ones who won’t stay.
2. Don’t participate in standards setting.
3. Lose control over generation and transmission
4. Replace things only when they fail; keep for 50 years or more til there are no spare parts.
5. Buy on price (first cost). Don’t pay for quality.
6. Eliminate R&D
7. Reduce manpower and budgets
8. Overload equipment thus increasing failure rates.
9. Lose control over daily activities–overdo outsourcing.
10. NIMBY – no new T&D but not no growth
[ I can supply a pdf of this paper, from the conference CD]


I visited a number of exhibitors. Here are some highlights.

– Arbiter Systems Inc. http://www.arbiter.com
High precision meters, traceable to NIST.
Can error-correct any meter to be much more accurate.
GPS clocks. Other interesting innovations..used by NxtPhase

– Cannon Technologies http://www.cannontech.com
Monitoring and control of loads and devices
Yukon modular software for distrib autom and demand mgt
eSubstation…low cost ($25K per substn)
Impressive customer list Sell only to utilities.
Started in ’87 w/ purch of a wireless subsidiary of ABB.
Announcing marketing deal with Honeywell soon. (load control thermostats)

– DTE Energy Technologies–“CableWise”
The “only” insitu inservice live cable test capability–uses partial discharge
[[ Is it really true? Has this “holy grail” finally been found?]]

– IFD Corporation http://www.ifdcorporation.com
Clever little mechanical popout device the goes inside distribution transformer to indicate an overpressure has occurred- which means that a fault has occurred inside. Visible from the street. [Sort of like the gadget that tells you your turkey is cooked.]

– IMCORP http://imcorp.uconn.edu
Cable testing products and services. Experts in partial discharge. Company is on campus at Univ Connecticut, led by prominent professor. Took back license from UltraPower (Minn, MN) which closed.

– NxtPhase http://www.nxtphase.com
Optical PT/CT. Looking very strong. {See UFTO Note 22 Jun 2000}

– Power Line Systems http://www.powline.com
T-Line design/management software to 500 utilities worldwide.

– Power Measurement Ltd. http://www.pml.com/
Hi end meters for revenue and PQ monitoring. for large customers. OEM to ABB and Siemens. Sev. new simpler cheaper products.

– Serveron Corp. http://www.serveron.com
Monitoring transformer gas in oil, and battery systems. Received a lot of attention at their booth, and appear to be progressing rapidly. [See UFTO Note 14 May 2001}

=====Substation monitoring=====
(Besides GE, Serveron, Cannon, etc.)

– DoubleTree Systems http://www.dsius.com
comprehensive solution..have installations in China. Systems Control Inc. alumni

– Doble http://www.doble.com/
Has abandoned development of “InSite”. Doing individual modules instead, for later “integration” at IP level. First is for bushings. Will announce a transformer pkg very soon

=====Power Switching=====

ABB – AX1 Air insulated Medium Voltage Switchgear.
1/2 the footprint, cheaper, arcing eliminated, simple installation, low/no maintenance.
http//:www.abb.com — search for AX1


Pole Plus http://www.poleplus.com
N Amer lic for EdF developed wood pole testing technology and management system. Acceptance is growing. [See UFTO Note 11 Jun 1999]

MiniMax Software Corp. http://www.minimax.net
Video surveillance specifically for substation monitoring, Also a distribution system “stakeout” pen-based computing solution.

The Valley Group. http://www.cat-1.com
Device measures trans. line cable tension directly; Plus nearby measurement of temperature the cable would be if unloaded — gives direct realtime reading of maximum possible loading.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply