Tulsa, Okla., February 2, 2011 — DistribuTECH, the largest U.S. conference that covers the smart grid from end to end, opened at the San Diego Convention Center on Tuesday, Feb. 1 with record-breaking registration numbers and keynote speakers who hailed the great possibilities of the smart grid while cautioning utilities and power industry insiders to really establish conversations with the electric customer.
By Wednesday at noon, DistribuTECH registration numbers had exceeded 8,000. 8,500 attendees are expected by the week’s end when the conference wraps up.
DistribuTECH 2011 officially kicked off with an opening keynote session on Feb. 1 at 8:30 a.m. The keynote featured David L. Geier, vice president of electric operations at San Diego Gas & Electric; Lynda Ziegler, executive vice president of Southern California Edison; Susan Eisenhower, strategic consultant and president of the Eisenhower Group; and, Daniel Burrus, author, futurist and technological change guru.
Geier brought the consumer into the conversation during his speech Tuesday morning. He said, "We can have all the great ideas in the world, but they need to align with and benefit our customers."
Ziegler agreed with Geier, noting that the utilities industry has not yet incorporated educated consumers into the equation nor looked at areas consumers are really concerned with: cost, safety, accuracy, security and health issues like EMF.
"If consumers see no benefits to the smart grid, it will be difficult to move forward," she said. "We all have a role to play in the public conversation."
Eisenhower also emphasized a greater dialogue about power technologies and modernization.
“We need to discuss the great opportunity of these energy advances,” she told the 2,500 attendees in the keynote audience. But, she advised the industry to be direct and not paint the modernization of the grid as an easy action item. She urged a realistic conversation.
“Don’t be afraid to tell the American people that this will be a really hard job,” she added, though she also reiterated that the hard work of the smart grid will be worth the effort for the industry and the public alike.
The industry conversation about smart grid continues this week at DistribuTECH 2011, including discussions about the consumer.
Along with a solid conference agenda, DistribuTECH features a large exhibit floor with 400 exhibitors ranging from communications to cable, electricity distribution hardware to software, and meters to smart thermostats.
Exhibitor registration for DistribuTECH 2011 is closed, but attendees can still register onsite for the full conference or just to walk the extensive exhibit floor. Onsite registration hours are: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, at the San Diego Convention Center.
Complimentary press registration is available to local media representatives with appropriate press credentials.
DistribuTECH is the utility industry's leading smart grid conference and exposition, covering automation and control systems, energy efficiency, demand response, renewable energy integration, advanced metering, T&D system operation and reliability, power delivery equipment and water utility technology.DistribuTECH is owned by PennWell Corp., a worldwide media company based in Tulsa, Okla.
PennWell Corp. is a diversified business-to-business media and information company that provides quality content and integrated marketing solutions for the following industries: oil and gas, electric power, water and wastewater, renewable, electronics, semiconductor, contamination control, optoelectronics, fiberoptics, enterprise storage, converting, nanotechnology, fire, emergency services and dental. Founded in 1910, PennWell publishes over 100 print and online magazines and newsletters, conducts 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and has an extensive offering of books, maps, web sites, research and database services. In addition to PennWell's headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma the Company has major offices in Nashua, New Hampshire; Houston, Texas; London, England; Mountain View, California; Fairlawn, New Jersey, Moscow, Russia, and Hong Kong, China. In 2010, PennWell celebrateed 100 years in business.