TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 7, 2003 -- More than 200 utilities from around the world, representing virtually all areas within the electric, water and gas industries converged recently at the 21st annual Itron Inc. User's Conference in Tucson, Arizona.
The conference ran Oct. 26 through 28. A record 430 participants were on hand to network, gain knowledge, share ideas and attend educational seminars on hot topics in the utility business. This year's conference also includes non-utility participants such as Independent System Operators (ISOs), university educators and public utility commissioners.
"The depth and breadth of this conference, the record number of educational sessions and people from virtually all areas of the industry coming together to talk about every angle of the value chain--that's what we're about," said LeRoy Nosbaum, Itron Chairman and CEO. "Attendees have a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with each other regarding the pressing industry issues they are facing today.
"In a year when utilities are still looking for ways to do more for less money, Itron is providing the knowledge to make cost-saving choices," he added.
Conference attendance is up almost 40 percent this year. Many of the participants come from various departments within utilities, including customer service, field service, operations, planning, billing, line design, metering, metering reading, IT, marketing and forecasting. The conference also attracted international representatives from utilities in Canada, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Japan and the Bahamas.
Carl Nichols, representing Duke Power, said he is impressed with the diversity of the Itron User's Conference.
"When you see and meet all the people here representing the energy and water industries, it shows the expansion of Itron and all the services they offer to utilities," Nichols said. "Itron is so much more than a meter-reading company now, and to their credit, they are willing to share their knowledge. I don't know many companies in the industry who will go to such length to provide customers a chance to work together and share what does and doesn't work."
This year's Itron User's Conference includes two full days of workshops for electric, gas and water utilities, from meter data collection to complex billing rates to workforce optimization and load forecasting. About 130 different educational sessions are offered in the three-day conference.
The Itron User's Conference Advisory Board recruited more than 70 speakers from all aspects of the industry said Michael Hogan, representing the City of Philadelphia Water Department and chairman of the conference's advisory board.
"We're keeping the pace brisk and exposing participants to solutions that can save them time and money," Hogan said. "In the City of Philadelphia, for example, we want to know how to track how much water we're losing in the system. There are sessions here that address that problem for water utilities."
The conference also featured the presentation of several awards. The award for Meter Reader of the Year was presented to Tami MacKay from Portland (OR) General Electric. The Designer of the Year went to Kathy DePauw with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Forecaster of the Year was presented to Adam Miller of Vectren Utility Holdings, and System Supporter of the Year went to Scott Barthelmess of Pacific Gas & Electric.
Leading utilities and industry representatives from across the nation are attending the record-breaking conference, including delegates from Denver Water, Southern California Edison, Southwest Gas Corporation, National Grid Company, Duke Power, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Bonneville Power Administration.
The conference continues through Tuesday, although many participants say the networking is just beginning.
Itron is a technology provider and critical source of knowledge to the global energy and water industries. More than 2,800 utilities worldwide rely on Itron technology to deliver the knowledge they require to optimize the delivery and use of energy and water.
Itron delivers value to its clients by providing solutions for meter data collection, energy information management, demand side management and response, load forecasting, analysis and consulting services, transmission and distribution system design and optimization, web-based workforce automation, C&I customer care and residential energy management. To know more, start here: www.itron.com.