At first glance the timing of the IEEE/PES Transmission & Distribution Conference & Exposition next month doesn't look good at all.
Many of the country's electric utilities are undergoing tough times as the industry continues to shake out and redefine and refine itself. An air of uncertainty has clouded a horizon that once seemed so crystal clear and exact.
The reluctance and seeming unwillingness of electric utilities to commit to large capital projects have pervaded the industry for what has seemed like time in memoriam. For many months, orders for manufactured products produced by electric utility equipment suppliers have been treading along on a listless plateau.
So all in all, it seems that the IEEE/PES event couldn't come at a more discouraging time.
But is the timing all that bad? Certainly in the above sense it seems so. But can you recall a time when there was a greater interest and an increased urgency for improving your competitive position through enhanced productivity and intensified cost reduction programs? And can you recall any time when electric utilities were in search of different ways to improve their electric service and deliver electricity cost effectively?
So if there is any time electric utilities need new ideas, the time is now. And this is what the IEEE/PES Conference & Exposition in Los Angeles, California, U.S., is all about.
While we can't ignore the plateauing of spending by electric utilities here in the U.S., we can say at some point that the plateauing will end and a renewed pattern of buying will take hold. This uptick will develop in the form of replacement maintenance and operations expenditures as the U.S. electric system continues to age.
While spending in the U.S. market seems lackluster, let's not forget about the activity in other countries. Visitors to this year's IEEE/PES Conference & Exposition will pour in from countries outside the U.S. and Canada. They'll arrive in Los Angeles to exchange information with their colleagues from around the world and to seek out the best technological solutions to their engineering and construction projects.
All of this suggests that manufacturers, whether they are engaged in maintaining their visibility in the U.S. or jumping off into a world of opportunity that developing countries offer, should be ready to put their best foot forward at this year's exposition.
The 1996 IEEE/PES conference offers utilities a look at a future that may not be as far off as the word "future" implies. Maybe a better way to put it is that the exposition offers utilities a glimpse of what they will need for survival in a world where competition is not going to let up.
During your visit to the IEEE/PES Conference & Exposition, please look for T&D World's two Show Daily newspapers, which will provide the latest information about the technology and business of our industry.
As an added information service, I want to invite you to tune into an exclusive video program produced by T&D World for this year's IEEE/PES Expo attendee and exhibitor. The video will feature interviews with prominent electric utility executives from around the country discussing the current and future state of the industry. Watch for it at the Westin Bonaventure, Omni Los Angeles and Baltimore hotels. The program will repeat every hour for the first and second day of the exposition.
I can't think of a better time when utilities can benefit from seeing the new world of technology than at this year's conference. And I'm proud that T&D World magazine will be there to help show you that world.