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.
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
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
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.]

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
Optical PT/CT. Looking very strong. {See UFTO Note 22 Jun 2000}

– Power Line Systems
T-Line design/management software to 500 utilities worldwide.

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

– Serveron Corp.
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
comprehensive solution..have installations in China. Systems Control Inc. alumni

– Doble
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// — search for AX1


Pole Plus
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.
Video surveillance specifically for substation monitoring, Also a distribution system “stakeout” pen-based computing solution.

The Valley Group.
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.

Announcements & Other Business

Subject: UFTO Announcements & Other Business
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 13:03:48 -0700
From: Ed Beardsworth

| *** UFTO *** Edward Beardsworth * Consultant |
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670 |
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675 |
(Since we don’t do the “Bulletin” anymore, here’s a new way to feed you bits and pieces of information.)

1. T&D Workshop Plans are firming up for the UFTO T&D Workshop at PNL. Date will be either Nov 4-5 or Nov 11-12, from noon to noon. We’ll have a decision about the dates by the end of this week. There will also be a number of other things for you to see or do after we adjourn, by arrangement with PNL. Details forthcoming.

A few of you haven’t responded yet about whether you or someone from your company plans to attend, so please let me know. Also, ideas and issues for the program/agenda would be very helpful. What would YOU consider to be a successful outcome?

2. Travelin’ I’ll be out of the office Mon – Wed, and back on Thurs. Sept 26. I will be checking tel. messages, but will NOT have access to email.

I will be visiting Ontario Hydro Technologies (OHT) in Toronto, to look at the technologies and services they have to offer UFTO (and maybe convince them to join UFTO — as a user as well as a supplier of technology). As you probably know, OHT is Ontario Hydro’s former in-house R&D division, now a separate subsidiary.

October 8,9, I’ll attend the (invitation only) DOE/Dawnbreaker “Commercialization Opportunity Forum” in DC, to see presentations by 42 SBIR awardees–startup companies that are looking for investors and partners.

Technology 2006, the big annual NASA conference, is in Anaheim Oct 29-31. I plan to attend, particularly the exhibits. It’d be great to see you there, too. For registration info, call 1-800-844-NASA.

Argonne Industry Day

Subject: Argonne Industry Day; and UFTO point of contact
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Dear Roger:
Thanks for your cordial response. I know you appreciate the reasons for our interest in maintaining close relationships with Argonne. In particular, we’re long overdue to update our UFTO report on Argonne.

By copy of this note, I’ll inform the UFTO members about your event on September 17. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend myself, but I would like to see the information about it.

In the meantime, who can I consider as a primary point of contact at ANL? Are your volunteering? Can I assume that the note about our planned UFTO T&D workshop has reached (or will reach) the right people?

Thanks again for your attention
Sincerely, Ed Beardsworth/ UFTO

RB Poeppel wrote:
> Reply to: RE>POC at ANL for Utility Fed Technology Oppty (UFTO)
> Dear Ed: Greetings. We met when you visited in May of 1994. We appreciate
> your continued interest in Argonne National Laboratory. Your e mail is very
> timely. We are holding a business and industry day on September 17. There
> may never be a better opportunity to get a full view of Argonne programs and
> capabilities in a single day. Let us know if you will be able to attend and I
> will have all the information sent to you.
> Roger Poeppel

T&D Workshop

Subject: UFTO T&D Workshop
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 1996 09:19:20 -0700
From: Ed Beardsworth <>


A preliminary program concept and invitation

Subject: What’s needed on the T&D grid now and in the future

What do the Labs have to offer

(Topics to include: equipment, devices, systems, operations, maintenance, automation, materials, sensors, reliability, analysis, planning, etc., FOR THE GRID. Not generation, storage, end-use, etc.; distributed resources only to extent of assessing impact on the grid.)

Attendance: (by invitation)

— UFTO Member Reps and/or T&D Experts
— Federal Lab representatives
— (possible) Selected startups/vendors with new and innovative ideas and products

Purpose — A chance for:

— An informal dialogue and exchange of ideas;
— The market to say what it needs;
— The Labs to show what they have done and can do;
— Relationship building;
— Exploration of collaborative opportunities.

Place: Richland (Tri-Cities) WA, Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) has offered to be the host.

Time: Week of October 21 or November 4. 1 1/2 days

(Optional/encouraged to stay on for tours, other meetings, etc.)

Costs: Own travel and accomodations.

(Possibly a small registration fee to cover meeting expenses.)

Format: Short presentations by both utility and lab attendees, with lots of roundtable discussion.

Success Measures: All attendees learn something useful; collaborations initiated; utilities adopt lab technology; labs gain better understanding of market needs; etc.

Background: UFTO member utility companies have seen detailed reports that describe the work at each of many Federal Labs, and this material has been well received. Now, their goal is to concentrate in a particular technical area, and bring together representatives and the technology offerings from across all the labs, for the purposes outlined above.

Though DOE is not currently funding T&D research, the labs have long experience, many exciting products, innovations and ideas, and technical expertise that can be brought to bear (e.g. systems analysis, sensors, materials, etc., just to name a few).


Please respond as soon as possible, by email, fax, or phone, on the following points:

1. Will someone from your organization be likely to attend? (If not, what changes would increase the likelihood?)

2. How does this sound to you? Is it a reasonable starting point? Any thoughts, suggestions?

3. Workshop Content:

Labs: What technologies would you like to present? What questions would you like answered?

UFTO Utilities: What areas would you like to have emphasized? Would you prepare a presentation on (some aspect) of industry needs? Would you help in the planning? Be chairperson?

4. Preferences on dates.

| *** UFTO *** Edward Beardsworth * Consultant |
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670 |
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675 |