Technical Sessions

2019 ESMO Technical Sessions
Monday: 8:00am - 10:00amOpening Session
Field Engagement is Key
Panel Chair: Rick Bush, Strategic Director, T&D World

The opening panel session will focus on integrating field perspectives into all aspects of the delivery business. Executives and field representatives will share how utilities and contractors tap into the talents of field personnel to spark innovation, creativity and efficiency and to enhance safety. Panelists will share how field workforce teams collaborate to assure field considerations are taken into account in the design, construction, operations and maintenance of the grid.

Monday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmAlternatives to Climbing T-Line Structures
Panel Chair: Ed Hunt, Line foreman III, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA)

We will be looking into alternatives to climbing at a Monday afternoon panel session. Traditional climbing methods inherently carry a certain amount of risk. This panel session will be looking into equipment, methods and procedures to either minimize traditional climbing or eliminate it all together and or equipment to assist in transferring. We will look at WAPA’s Helicopter program, TriState G&T’s Rope Access program, along with the Atlas Climbing device and the development of an elevator type system from Highstep of Germany. The SHNIX device is an innovative new product that allows any user working at height to exit the bucket while aloft and be permanently attached to a single location, but NEVER to multiple locations. The goal will be for each presenting organization to also Demo their product or procedure at the outdoor demonstrations.

  • James Hill, WAPA
  • Ron Feldmann, WAPA
  • Rory Kirkendall, WAPA
  • Tyler Johnson, Tri State G&T
  • Tom Penner, Tri State G&T
  • Gregor Wylenzek, Highstep (Invited)
  • Simon Neve, SHNIX device (Invited)
Monday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmPhysical Security of the Grid and Substation
Panel Chair: Keith Lindsey

Dominion began planning an aggressive substation security program. Developing a comprehensive and successful resiliency strategy requires looking at the big picture. Resiliency planning is something Dominion had been doing for years in the wake of Hurricane Isabel, but the Metcalf attack precipitated the utility’s development of a multifaceted approach to securing its substations.

To the outside observer, Dominion’s substation security program may appear to be just hardened perimeter fences. However, the scope of the plan goes much deeper. When it comes to substation security, there is no panacea or one-size-fits-all solution that works for every utility owner or operator. The correct security solution will vary from state to state or region to region. This point is emphasized by the structure of the new North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) CIP-014 standard on security for critical substations.


Monday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmMAD - How to Apply and Reduce
Panel Chair: Kris Buchholz, ESCI

ESMOL Subcommittee is currently working on a paper to present practical approaches to Minimum Approach Distances (MAD) for transmission line work. This paper has been in the development stage and will be published soon; however, we would like to show you what you will see in this paper that should help you apply MAD to different work situations. Included in this paper are many drawings on what MAD distances must be considered when developing work procedures or applying work procedures to your specific line structure configuration. In addition, ESMOL is developing a second paper for the application of MAD to distribution work procedures, thus we will be showing you drawings that will be included showing various MAD distribution applications We are also looking forward to the Q&A portion of this session to gather your feedback and any additional items that should be included in the final version of both papers.

  • Steve Zubiri, Work Methods and Procedures Specialist, PG&E
  • Tom Verdecchio, Live Line Special Projects Manager, ESCI
  • Brian Erga, President and General Manager, ESCI
  • Kris Buchholz, Director of Special Projects, ESCI, Chair
Monday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmWildfires Impact - Prevention Through Monitoring - Latest Technology
Panel Chair: Doug Proctor

The panelists will report on the challenges faced due to wildfires affecting power lines. Topics will include new technologies available or under development. New ideas and technologies that monitor specific areas and weather to aid operators in scheduling and switching will be on the agenda for discussion. System protection and “smart” line developments to protect power lines and avoid damages and unscheduled outages. Right of Way maintenance and vegetation monitoring and control will be also be on the agenda for discussion

  • Bill Chiu, Southern California Edison
  • Gary Huffman, Burns and McDonnell
Monday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmGrid Recovery, Emergency Response
Panel Chair: Dave Callahan, Dist. Emergency Preparedness Manager, American Electric Power

This panel will provide insight into how our nations Electric Utilities pull together to recover from recent natural disasters from different points of view. They will share their thoughts on how preplanning, logistics and the actual recovery of the grid impact them. We will also discuss how we can help them better serve our needs.

  • Rod Alsop, Disaster Resource Group (Logistics)
  • Brian Standish, Quanta Services
  • Ryan Miller, Kent Power
  • Jimmy Emmert, AEP Texas Transmission
  • Mike Menges, EEI
Monday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmSubstation Integrated Design & Construction
Panel Chair: Ronald Wellman, PE, Planning & Engineering Supervisor, Substation Engineering Design Standards, AEP
Panel Co-Chair: Xuan Wu, PhD, PE, Chair, IEEE PES Columbus Chapter & Senior Engineer, Substation Engineering Design Standards, AEP

In recent years, utility companies are undergoing rapid change and growth, resulting in an urgent need for a more efficient use of resources in design, construction, and operation and maintenance of their facilities. The necessity to improve the project delivery process has placed AEP Transmission and other progressive utility companies in a unique position to leverage the current experienced resources along with new tools and technologies in developing an intelligent 3D model of a station and the entire system to streamline processes and procedures not only in engineering, but also in construction, operation and maintenance groups. This panel session will discuss existing substation LIDAR & ground penetrating radar scanning, intelligent 3D/4D/5D modelling, substation constructions using prefabrications, constructability analysis, remote construction progress monitoring using drones, etc.

  • Masoud Rafiee, PE, PMP, Staff Engineer, Substation Engineering Design Standards, AEP
  • Mark Mashburn, Manager,Transmission Integrated Design & Construction, AEP
  • Brian Belcher, PLS, Project Manager at Surveying And Mapping, LLC (SAM)
  • Boris William Troya, PE, PMP, Project Manager, RCM Technologies
  • Brian Tschanen, Division Manager, Vaughn Industries, LLC
Wednesday: 8:00am - 10:00amSubstation Topics
Panel Chair: Keith Wallace, Safeath, Principal Engineer

Ground Grid Testing – Beyond the Assumptions – by Keith Wallace (Safearth)
For forty years, ground grid performance has been defined by computer programs. The effectiveness of these programs are limited by assumptions of soil resistivity, transmission line performance, split factor, construction techniques, and grid maintenance. Modern techniques can be used to reflect performance during fault conditions.

Arc Flash Requirements for Electric Utility Live Work - Gaining Regulatory Compliance – by Eduardo Ramirez-Bettoni (Xcel)
Most arc flash calculation tools and methods available in the marketplace are targeted for evaluating individual facilities and fall short in a utility environment. An electric utility typically owns hundreds to thousands of miles of transmission lines, feeders, and substations. This presentation gives practical recommendations on how to meet regulations while still making live work practical, and optimizing the resources available to maintain an arc flash safety program. Special considerations are presented for matching facility heat ratings to work methods and PPE for hot sticking, bare handing, and gloving.

The History and Future of IEEE 80 – Grounding for AC Substations – Rich Keil (Commonwealth and Associates – Chair of IEEE 80)
One of the most popular IEEE documents, Guide 80 was one of the industry’s first world-wide consensus standards. The working groups in charge of the document have responsible for leading North America in substation safety though, design, and procedure. Approaching 70 years in the industry, what is the future of Guide 80?

  • Eduardo Ramirez-Bettoni, Xcel
  • Rich Keil, Commonwealth and Associates – Chair of IEEE 80
Wednesday: 8:00am - 10:00amLine Inspections, Drones
Panel Chair: Alan Holloman, VP, Power Grid Resources Inc

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been used for numerous types of inspections. This session will have presentations by leaders in the industry discussing the uses for transmission infrastructure inspections and the related benefits. Where are we with inspection technology? Examples of where we are in the development of the technology.

  • Dawn of the Drones – How UAVs are Changing Utility O&M
    Grant Leaverton, Business Development, EXOM
  • Rolling and flying robots share a role in advanced transmission line inspections
    Nicolas Pouliot, Technical Coordinator Power Line Robotic Program, Hydro Quebec
  • Matt Shellenberger, Staff Engineer, AEP
  • EPRI UAS Research Overview
    Dexter Lewis, Project Manager, EPRI
Wednesday: 8:00am - 10:00amWildlife and Avian Impacts
Panel Chair: Mike Best

The Avian Powerline Interaction Committee (APLIC) has developed the Suggested Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines: The State of the Art in 2006 and Reducing Avian Collisions with Power Lines the State of the Art in 2012. These documents provide guidance to utilities to retrofit and design electric facilities to reduce bird mortality and also improve system reliability. We will also discuss how applying this guidance has be used by utilities to protect whooping cranes in the Central Flyway.

  • Mike Best, Avian Protection Plan Program Manager, PG&E
  • Amy Ruszala, Advanced Scientist, First Energy
  • Eric Johnson, Kansas City Power & Light, Westar Energy Companies
Wednesday: 8:00am - 10:00amIncreasing Capacity on Existing Right-of-Way
Panel Chair: Matthew Krall, P.E. Engineer Senior, Transmission Line Engineering, American Electric Power

When right-of-ways are limited and the goal is to increase capacity, a transmission owner might consider operational changes, wire alternatives, or complete line/circuit rebuilds. This session explores three technologies that when implemented, individually or together, will increase the electrical capacity of existing right-of-ways. Technologies include: Dynamic Line Rating (DLR), Aluminum Conductor Composite Core (ACCC), and Breakthrough Overhead Line Design (BOLD). Each topic will be presented, followed by a short panel discussion and Q/A session with the audience.

  • Jack McCall, Chairman, WATT Coalition, VP Sales, Lindsey Manufacturing
  • Matthew Hutchison, CTC Global, Inc., VP Business Development
  • Carol Liu, System Performance Analysis Manager, American Electric Power
Wednesday: 8:00am - 10:00amLive Working in EU

To harmonize regulations and requirements regarding to equipment inspection and education, a CIGRE working group (B2.64) is just finalizing its technical brochure with detailed recommendations for both testing and training based on the detailed analysis of the international practice including the results of an industry-wide survey in the topic.

History of live working in Europe begun in the early 20th century. Since that, equipment and technology went through numerous improvement and development as science and industry evolved. One of the pioneers of high voltage bare-hand work was Hungary in the 1960s. Based on the heritage of the outstanding researchers, development is continuous, even nowadays. New type of insulated conductor car, insulator replacement technology for compact geometries, or conductive suit with outstanding electric field screening capabilities are only some of the latest highlighted research areas.

One of the leading country in live working is in French, using their own technologies for overhead lines as well as for substation. Live working is evolving in other countries, as well. Italy also has an own bare-hand technology with special tools and equipment – nowadays used in Hungary, too. In the last decades, ratio of live activities is increasing continuously at distribution side (low and medium voltage levels) in Europe – especially in Germany and Slovenia.

Round-table discussion at the end of the section.

  • Dr. Bálint NÉMETH
    TUTORIAL – CIGRE B2.64 (Inspection and Testing of Equipment and Training for Live-Line Work on Overhead Lines) – 30 minutes
  • Giorgio De Donà, Terna
    Live Working in Italy – 20 minutes
    Live Working in France and SERECT – 20 minutes
  • Dr. Gábor GÖCSEI, BME
    Latest developments in Live working – 20 minutes
  • Klaus Dütsch, Bayernwerk Netz GmbH
    Live Working in Germany, Organization, Safety Principles, Examples – 20 minutes
  • Dr. Viktor Lovrencic, CG
    Live Working in Slovenia and Croatia – 20 minutes
Wednesday: 8:00am - 10:00amAugmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality as a Safer Business Tool
Panel Chair: Chris Miller, Director IT Demand Management – American Electric Power

AR/VR technology has been rapidly improving in recent years. What required a large investment just a few years ago, has become considerably cheaper/faster now. Likewise, a wide variety of new devices have hit the market as well as new software tools allowing your average smartphone or tablet to provide near 3D experience.

Unlike many other industries, the Utilities business is a very physical one. From building new facilities to maintaining existing structures in challenging and dangerous environments. AR/VR promises to help engineers envision clearance and design anomalies as well as assist field workers train and practice tricky procedures before ever stepping foot in a SubStation or climbing a pole.

The panel will offer several short presentations on their experience of putting AR/VR to work making real world business problems safer.

  • Scott Dimpfl, Manager Station Engineering Design Standards, American Electric Power
  • Nicholas Saunders, Senior Engineer, American Electric Power
  • Chris Roswell, Product Owner, XR Product Line
  • Zach Wassenberg, BSEE Augmented Technologies T&D, Burns and McDonnell
  • Brendan Gardiner, Delivery Lead, Pillar Technologies
  • Micah Tinklepaugh, Research Scientist, Electric Power Research Institute
  • Rodney James, Technology Development Manager, Emerging Technologies, Duke Energy
Wednesday: 10:30am - 12:30pmLive Work on AC Versus DC Lines and Equipment
Panel Chair: George Gela, President Berkshire Electric Transmission Consulting, and lecturer at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Live work on AC lines and equipment has been a staple method for many utilities for over a century. Many specialized tools and procedures were developed, starting with opening energized disconnect switches back in 1913 and the development of the insulating “electrical hook” in 1916. The first barehand work was performed by AEP in 1960s. Today, we use FRP tools, introduced by the AB Chance Company in 1959, on AC lines of all voltages, from distribution to UHV levels, including 1000 kV class.

Historically, partly as result of the “war of the currents”, DC power systems have not developed to a significant extent. The last “DC island” in North America, energized and DC in September 1882, closed its doors in November 2007 after 125 years of service. And recently, we are coming full circle and developing DC and HVDC systems and equipment throughout the entire world at an increasing pace.

Experts participating in this panel session will discuss similarities and differences between AC and DC from the live work perspective, including concepts of voltage equivalence, testing of tools and equipment, and relevant performance requirements and applicable standards.

  • Dr. John Kuffel, Senior Consultant, EPRI
  • Jeffrey Laninga, Live Line Methods Safety Engineer at Manitoba Hydro
  • Vladimir Ostrovsky, VP of International Sales and Marketing, Salisbury by Honeywell, and Convenor IEC TC78 WG 13 Protective equipment
  • Tom Verdecchio, Retired PSE&G, IEEE’s representative to NESC Subcommittee 8, Part 4 “Work Rules”, now with ECSI
  • Dr. George Gela, Past Chair IEC TC78 Live working, Past Technical Executive EPRI-Lenox
Wednesday: 10:30am - 12:30pmHuman Performance 101
Jake J. Mazulewicz, Ph.D., Director, JMA High Reliability Strategies

Preventable errors in the workplace can end lives, ruin careers, and capsize company reputations overnight. Some teams manage workplace errors far more effectively than others. What works? What doesn’t? Join us to learn the fundamentals of three core error management strategies used by pilots, surgeons, wildland firefighters, elite military units, and other high reliability teams. You’ll walk away with practical techniques that you can apply immediately, as well as eye-opening insights that can help you improve reliability and safety in your workplace for years to come.
Wednesday: 10:30am - 12:30pmArcflash Issues and New IEEE and IEC Standards
Panel Chair: George Gela, President Berkshire Electric Transmission Consulting, and lecturer at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Exposure to a high-current arc while performing work on live equipment has been responsible for many injuries and fatalities, particularly in low voltage and distributions systems. A very significant effort at high cost has been devoted to understanding the phenomenon and consequences of a high-current arc. Many tests were performed and specialized protective clothing, equipment, and devices are now available to help ensure safety in live work.

Experts on this panel will review the new IEEE 1584 standard “IEEE Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations”, test procedures and performance requirements for protective clothing, new international IEC standards, and limits of applicability of the available standards. The panel will also discuss characteristics of long arcs on HVAC lines.

  • Jim Phillips, International Chairman - IEC TC-78 Live Working, Vice Chair IEEE 1584, IEEE/NFPA Arc Flash Research Collaboration Project, &, Associate Director - Electrical Safety UK, Rotherham, England
  • Tom Short, Senior Technical Executive EPRI, author of textbook “Electric Power Distribution Handbook”, active participant in the development of IEEE 1584
  • Hugh Hoagland, Senior managing Partner at ArcWear &, Project Leader for several arcflash-related standards at IEC TC78 WG 15 Arc Flash Protection
  • Austin Gaunce, Station Design Standards, AEP
  • Dennis Hoffman, PE, Planning & Engineering Supervisor, Transmission Field Services Technical Support, AEP
  • John Mandeville, Senior Engineer, Dolan Technology Center, AEP
  • Dr. George Gela, Past Chairman IEC TC78 Live working, Past Technical Executive EPRI-Lenox

Wednesday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmGrounding for Personal Protection
Panel Chair: Walter Ahlisch, W.A.Goods Co. Ltd.

A brief history of Temporary Protective Grounding is presented, highlighting the evolution of the practice and recent OSHA guidelines that impact working practices and product. Through simple circuit analysis, the impact of fault current on a lineman with and without adequate protective grounding will be demonstrated. This analysis also allows one to understand the potential hazardous impact to the worker when inadequate ground sets are employed or when adequate ground sets are improperly attached. Will discuss the construction of ground sets and how the component choices and assembly are critical to the performance of ground sets, emphasizing the importance of this through videos of ground sets being tested at fault current levels. These videos clearly illustrate the extreme energy associated with fault currents and the resultant potential destruction. The testing and maintenance of ground sets will be discussed. Equipotential grounding will be presented, with detail about the products needed to achieve an equipotential zone for the lineman. The benefit of equipotential grounding will be demonstrated using a Ground Set Simulator.

  • Jeff Kopp, Hubbell
  • Gary A. Zevenbergen, WAPA
  • Brian Erga, ESCI Inc.
Wednesday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmTowers and Foundations / Latest issues, Lessons learned
Panel Chair: Alan Holloman, VP, PowerGrid Resources Inc.

With an aging transmission system comes the need to understand the issues related to the transmission steel structures. This session will have presentations from utilities on structure maintenance processes used to manage the aging transmission structures as well as a presentation on concrete foundations.

  • Asset Rehabilitation: Tower/Foundation Remediation on Aging Infrastructure
    Mary Jane McMillen, Planning and Engineering Supervisor, AEP
  • Transmission Steel Structure Foundation Failure Modes
    Scott Monroe, Field Services Supervisor, Power Grid Resources Inc.
  • 230 kV Transmission Line Tower Failure
    Steven Zubiri, Pacific Gas & Electric Company
  • Steel Support Structures and Foundations: Addressing Aging Infrastructure and Extending Asset Life for Future Needs
    Bill Broske PE, Sr. Engineer, Transmission Line Maintenance, First Energy
    Loren W. Schmidt, Program Manager, Transmission Line Maintenance, First Energy
Wednesday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmUnderground Monitoring
Panel Chair: Rob Grawe, P.E. Transmission Line Engineering Manager, American Electric Power

This session will bring experts in underground cable systems, both Transmission and Distribution Networks, together in one session to discuss underground monitoring. This will include presentations in real-time Distribution Network monitoring, underground vault inspection techniques using UAS and submersible robots, and Distributed Temperature Sensing, Distributed Acoustical Sensing and on-line PD monitoring technology. The session will end with a short panel discussion between the audience and all the speakers.

  • Dan Coleman, P.E. UG Network Engineering Supervisor, American Electric Power
  • Reynold Cornell, Engineer, Transmission System and Asset Monitoring, American Electric Power
  • Ken Jenkins, Engineer III, Indianapolis Power & Light Co.
  • David Kummer, Engineer/Scientist, Electric Power Research Institute
  • Jared Jajack, P.E. Engineer Principal, Transmission Line Engineering, American Electric Power
Wednesday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmSafety Culture - Pursuing Zero Harm
Panel Chair: Shayne Wright, POWER Engineers

The Safety and Human Performance session will bring panelists together from Safety Management, Engineering Design, Construction, and Testing & Commissioning as well as our industry regulators. Each of them with a common goal to keep our people safe and maintain our Country’s grid with reliability and resiliency as a high priority. People attending the session will find that the subject is not only a priority for our industry, it’s fun to learn about! It’s brain science! The information that will be shared concerning Safety and Human Performance is thought provoking and will consists of meaningful material that everyone will be able to take home and start using immediately. Everyone from the office to the field will find the session useful. Safety and Human Performance Improvement is for everyone.

  • Dr. Jake Mazulewicz,
  • Ryan Dobbins, Safety Management Group (SMG)
  • Barry Williams, New River Electrical Corp.
  • Dr. James Merlo, NERC, Vice President of Reliability Risk Management
  • John Kumm, Director of Testing & Commissioning, POWER Engineers
  • John Reynolds, Performance Management Analyst, AEP Transmission Engineering
  • Russ Clavette, Sr. Project Manager, POWER Engineers
Wednesday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmEngineering Design Considerations
Panel Chair: Brian Bailey, P.E., Project Manager, POWER Engineers, Inc.

In order to have a transmission system that is safe and reliable in construction, operations, and maintenance, many considerations must be taken into account during the initial planning and design stages of a project. This panel will explore different challenges faced and how teams overcame these challenges which allowed for improved constructability and maintainability. It will evaluate engineering design considerations from multiple angles, including engineering, construction, maintenance, and manufacturing, and discuss how the decisions made during the early stages of a project will affect the safety and reliability of that asset throughout its lifetime.

  • Nancy Fulk, Principal Engineer, American Electric Power
  • Archie Pugh, Managing Director of Transmission Field Operations, American Electric Power
  • Sam Bowen, Senior Vice President, Service Electric Company
  • Ken Sharpless, Vice President of Engineering, TAPP
  • Erik Ruggeri, Principal Engineer, POWER Engineers
Wednesday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmLate Breaking Technologies
Panel Chair: Rick Bush, Strategic Director, T&D World

We are seeing an incredible array of innovative tools and technologies making their way to the field.

Many are digitally enabled. In this session you will see devices and systems that enable maintenance and construction work in the field to proceed with enhanced productivity and increased safety.


Wednesday: 2:00pm - 4:00pmDevelopments & Opportunities of Microgrid and DER Technologies
Panel Chair: Xuan Wu, PhD, PE, Chair, IEEE PES Columbus Chapter & Senior Engineer, Substation Engineering Design Standards, AEP

Microgrids and DERs (distributed generators, energy storage devices, and controllable loads) are reshaping the utility industry from a centralized electricity supplying method to a decentralized one and from relying on fuels to producing and consuming cleaner energy. These changes will drive increasingly decarbonized, reduce power losses, defer transmission & distribution infrastructure upgrades and expansions, increase power supplying resilience and finally improve customer experiences with more options. In the meantime, there are still many challenges to be resolved, such as developing more durable and economical switching devices or batteries, advancing DER management and protection technologies, optimizing the size and location of a DER or a microgrid, and overcoming the limitations of the existing regulatory and market frameworks, etc. This panel session is targeted to share some of the latest micorgrid and DER technologies and look into the future development and application opportunities.

  • Dr. Mahesh Illindala, PhD, Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University
  • Dr. Ramteen Sioshansi, PhD, Professor, Integrated Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University (Invited)
  • Amrit Khalsa, Manager, Dolan Technology Center, AEP
  • Tom Weaver, Manager, Distribution System Planning, AEP
Wednesday: 4:15pm - 6:00pmConference Review
Panel Chair: Rick Bush, Strategic Director, T&D World

This session will conclude the Technical Program for ESMO 2019. It will bring together all the session chairs for one last panel discussion. This will give conference attendees the opportunity to ask any lingering questions that they may have, allow the session chairs to elaborate on connections between session topics, and enable the planning committee and session chairs to collect feedback regarding the Technical Program.