Marching into New Orleans

As we stand on the edge of the millennium, it is natural to want to think ahead and try to visualize what life and technology will be like in the 21st century. It is one thing to think ahead and quite another to actually see some of that likely technology first-hand and to take part in structured discussions of what will be and what is needed to succeed in the years ahead. The 1999 IEEE/PES Transmission and Distribution Conference and Exposition scheduled for April 11-16 in New Orleans provides a first hand look into the future of power delivery. The theme of this year's conference and show, held every 30 months, is "A Vision into the 21st Century."

Global topics will be explored in the opening session and in two panel sessions called Super Sessions. Discussion will focus on the many changes affecting the electric utility industry and how these changes will play out in the years ahead. Regulatory, operating, cost and reliability issues will be explored.

The very survival of the utility industry in the 21st century is the subject of one of the super sessions where a panel of editors from industry publications will concentrate on how the industry could appear in the years ahead considering the effects of downsizing, mergers, alliances, and competition. T&D World's editor-in-chief Rick Bush, Utility Business' editor-in-chief Martin Rosenberg and Energy Manager's acting editor Michael Eby will participate in what will be a lively discussion.

The second super session will gather a panel of experts to discuss power delivery in a re-regulated market. Panel members will grapple with the question: What will be the demands on the transmission grid and technologies to support a new way of supplying, selling and using electric energy? Other special panel sessions will deal with the topics of system reliability, power quality, real-time metering and distributed resources - all topics of extreme importance considering the fluid state of the electric utility industry.

Approximately 200 technical papers will be presented at the conference. The papers will focus on technologies that will be needed to operate the power systems of the future. Paper topics include: "Load Forecasting in a Competitive Retail Market," "Impact of Deregulation on Power Delivery Planning," "Electricity Distributors in Competitive Electricity Markets," and "Development of an Automated Power Quality Management System." Other papers will focus on strictly technical topics, such as a new method for measuring power system frequency, a digital control scheme for substation automation, and an alternative procedure for overhead transmission line design.

Panel sessions have always been a popular aspect of IEEE technical meetings as a way to provide valuable first-hand operating experience and product performance data. This conference is no exception with more than 25 such sessions planned by various Power Engineering Society committees. Representative topics include performance of polymer insulators, diagnostic testing of medium voltage cables, and URD cable rejuvenation.

More than 500 exhibiting companies will be present on the show floor representing everything from helicopters, substation switchgear, and steel poles to small electrical connectors and hand-held meters. This collection of companies offers a great opportunity for attendees to inspect products and talk with company representatives about features, availability and cost. Many of the exhibitors are also offering one-hour "Info-Sessions" on their products and product applications. A list of exhibitors can be found starting on page 26 of this issue or on the IEEE Web site at http://www.99ieeet-d.org.

To help conference attendees sort out the details of the show and expo and bring them the latest show and industry news, Transmission & Distribution World magazine will publish a daily newspaper-IEEE's official daily publication-on April 13 and 14, 1999. T&D World editors will be busy combing the show floor for exciting news and technology developments that are of interest to show attendees. They will also visit the conference sessions to report on the important technologies and business strategies being implemented across the globe. Show attendees can look for their copy of the Show Daily as they enter the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

One thing is for sure, it will be an exciting show and conference. We look forward to seeing you there. As the IEEE says in its promotion: You Gotta Be There!

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