ESMO Conference History

In the 1960’s a group recognized a need for Power Engineering Safety Standards. This original group, which later became ESMOL (Engineering Safety Maintenance Overhead Lines) a sub-committee of the IEEE Power & Energy Society included:

Floyd Buchholz Hank Heerspink
Mark Charest Wayne Jackson
Bill Cole Hank Kientz
Randy Cole Nestor Kolcio
Bill Croker Keith Lindsey
Dan Crotta Frank Myers
Carlton Daiss Bill Olive
John Eckman Scobie Price
Jim Gillies Pat Quinn
Charlie Grose James Reilly
Ed Harris Joe Van Name


In the early 1970’s the group realized that it would be very beneficial for workers to see the standards in action and started planning the first conference which they named ESMO. After consideration of many proposals, Hydro Quebec was chosen as the utility partner, and in 1976 the first ESMO Conference took place in Quebec. This Conference has always been of great interest to both management, safety engineers and workers in the electric utility industry due to its unique field demonstrations and focus on safe work practices. The Conference is designed to provide technical paper presentations and panel sessions for informative question and answer opportunities; an indoor exhibition hall for participants to talk with vendors and users about tools, equipment, services and new ideas; and, the outdoor field demonstrations to see various work practices and equipment in action by utilities, contractors, helicopter operators and vendors.

Below is a list of the conferences, the host utilities and the locations.

Conference YearUtilityLocation
1976Hydro QuebecMontreal, QC
1980Commonwealth EdisonChicago, IL
1983Georgia PowerAtlanta, GA
1987Public Service New MexicoAlbuquerque, NM
1990Ontario HydroToronto, ON
1993Nevada PowerLas Vegas, NV
1995American Electric PowerColumbus, OH
1998Florida PowerOrlando, FL
2000Hydro QuebecMontreal, QC
2003Progress EnergyOrlando, FL
2006Public Service New MexicoAlbuquerque, NM
2011National GridProvidence, RI
2016American Electric PowerColumbus, OH

Current ESMOL Scope:

  • Tend to all matters related to the engineering in maintenance of lines and associated devices
  • Research, development, testing, acceptance of various techniques, practices and procedures as they relate to safety and maintenance of lines and associated devices
  • Development of work methods to provide safe work areas while taking into consideration ground bonding, induction effects, equipment characteristics and testing techniques.

ESMOL holds two meetings each year, these include the summer and winter meetings. During these meetings the IEEE standards that the group is responsible for are reviewed to ensure that the technology is current. For those that are approaching their renewal date, a working group of interested experts is formed. Then a review process begins that finally culminates in a revised document that is submitted to IEEE for voting. In addition, papers are prepared for publication to provide additional information to the utility industry for applications of the standards, new technology and supplementary work practices. There is a great deal of sharing between members during the three to four day meetings. New members are always welcome to join these meetings.

IEEE ESMOL Working Groups/Standards (Chair):

IEEE 516 Live Line Guide (Kris Buchholz, Keith Wallace)
IEEE 935 Terminology
IEEE 957 Insulator Cleaning (Steve Zubiri)
IEEE 1048 Protective Grounding (Brian Erga)
IEEE 1067 Conductive Clothing (Lawrence Schweitzer)
IEEE 1070 Restoration Structures (Alan Holloman)
IEEE 1307 Fall Protection (Ed Hunt)
IEEE 1654 RF Worker Protection (Sam Stonerock)
IEEE 1882 – Guide for Establishing a Live Working Program (Tom Verdecchio)