I began my career as a transmission line mechanic at American Electric Power (AEP) 34 years ago. Since that time, I have worked in different field positions involving transmission line construction, line maintenance and storm restoration.
Throughout my career, I’ve never stopped learning. For example, I had the opportunity in 1995 to experience the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Power Engineering Society (PES) ESMO conference for the first time. This event was started in the 1960s to meet the need for power engineering safety standards. In 1976, the IEEE PES Engineering Safety Maintenance Overhead Lines (ESMOL) subcommittee organized its first conference, which was hosted by Hydro Quebec, so workers could see the standards in action. From its inception, ESMO has brought together electric utility professionals, vendors, consultants, contractors and others to discuss the safe engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of the world’s power delivery systems. The ESMO 1995 conference gave me the chance to serve as an outdoor announcer. In 2016, I experienced ESMO yet again, this time serving as the outdoor demonstration manager for the transmission line activities.
I look forward to another ESMO conference this year as AEP plans to host the event in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., from June 24-27, 2019. The conference includes two days of technical programming with indoor exhibits at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and another two days of outdoor demonstrations at AEP’s dedicated ESMO outdoor site.
Here are five ways this conference differs from others in the energy industry.
1. Outdoor demonstrations: After attendees learn about the industry’s new state-of-the-art equipment inside the convention center, they can watch experts and vendors demonstrate the new products at AEP’s outdoor site. Attendees can spend two days observing skilled professionals performing real work on utility assets. These in-person, field demonstrations involve transmission, distribution, substation and underground equipment. Just as we have done in the past, we plan to offer a special heavy equipment area that features actual machines and vehicles at work. Attendees also have a chance to see a helicopter demonstration, with the landing area located away from the exhibits to minimize noise. I am serving as the outdoor demonstration manager for this year’s entire show, which involves coordinating schedules and logistics for each of these activities.
2. One-stop shop: ESMO covers a lot of ground in just a few days, from safety to day-to-day operations. It is a great, informative and interesting experience that field professionals and mangers shouldn’t miss. Nowhere else can they see and learn so much about transmission and distribution field work in one location over a short time frame.
3. Technical panel sessions: Attendees can earn professional development hours by attending the technical panel sessions. Engaging speakers look forward to providing the latest in the design, maintenance, operation and construction of lines and substations. Topics include:
- Innovative solutions
- Live maintenance
- Safety system monitoring
- Storm response
- Alternatives to climbing transmission line structures
- Physical security of the grid
- Minimum approach distances
- Wildfire prevention
- Grid recovery and emergency response
- Substation integrated design and construction
- Drone inspections
- Wildlife and avian impacts
- Underground monitoring
4. Tour of the training center: AEP owns and operates the largest transmission system in North America and is parent to seven utility operating companies serving 11 states. ESMO 2019 attendees have the unique opportunity to tour AEP’s Transmission Training Center, which houses an indoor substation, transformers and a vast array of other equipment. Attendees can also see AEP’s innovative, award-winning Breakthrough Overhead Line Design (BOLD) transmission structures.
5. Network with your peers: Learn about best practices, swap stories about industry challenges and meet new friends from around the world. Because ESMO 2019 offers special group pricing for five or more registrants from the same utility, crews or teams can attend the event together to take advantage of the special discount.
Don’t miss your opportunity to participate in this industry event. Come learn about new tools and technologies, expand your skill set, gain a competitive edge in the utility industry, and see the latest developments in electric utility products and technologies. I look forward to seeing you in June and welcoming you to Columbus, Ohio, for this premier conference. It only happens every two years, so make your plans now to attend this worthwhile event, which puts a face on the electric utility
Editor’s Note: To register for the conference, learn more about the technical sessions, view the schedule and see a list of exhibitors, visit www.ieee-esmo.com.