DISTRIBUTECH International seeks to bring all of the utility industry’s players together, from asset managers to distribution engineers to AMI evangelists and smart city pioneers. DISTRIBUTECH International summit attendees are looking to be inspired by big thinkers, innovators, technical experts, and those with different perspectives.

Deadline to submit an abstract has been extended to July 13, 2020.

If your presentation is selected, you may be asked to deliver it as an individual presentation or panel presentation in our formal Summit program. It may also be chosen for our Knowledge Hubs which are the expanded, heavily trafficked presentation theaters in the exhibit hall.

Please submit your abstracts below for DISTRIBUTECH International, taking place February 9-11, 2021 in San Diego, California. If you have questions, feel free to contact Debbi Wells at debbi.wells@clarionevents.com.

Only the best abstracts will be considered for presentation at DISTRIBUTECH International 2021. Abstracts that are overtly commercial and promotional of products and services WILL NOT be considered.  Failure to meet deadlines will result in the removal of your presentation from the conference. Read our FAQ’s to learn more about presentation formats and the selection process.

When submitting your abstract, please choose a first and second choice category based on the best fit for your abstract topic. Your abstract will be submitted to both subcommittees for review and consideration. DISTRIBUTECH International offers two types of session formats: individual and panel presentations. The committee will develop all sessions, choosing to make them individual or panel presentations.

In light of the current Coronavirus crisis, we understand utilities may not be able to confirm their participation at the time of abstract submission.  If you’re a vendor/exhibitor submitting an abstract with the intent to have a utility participate please list the name of the utility in your abstract and they can be confirmed at a later date.

To submit an abstract CLICK HERE


DISTRIBUTECH's 2021 summit tracks are:

Asset Management

Utilities needs to maintain their new and aging physical assets in order to keep electrons flowing safely to their customers. Sessions in this track will help attendees develop an understanding of how utilities are performing asset management activities from reactive to proactive using condition monitoring and trend evaluation.

Attendees will learn how asset managers are creating decision support methodologies that assist in repair, replacement and other maintenance decisions by obtaining additional insights into asset performance management, asset strategy and asset investment planning

C&I and Residential Customers

Utility customers today — be they large energy users or residential — expect their utilities to provide them with much more than just electricity and a monthly bill. They want quick responses and proactive communications. Electricity providers must get to know their customers and develop services to improve the customer experience while at the same time influence customer behavior through demand response and efficiency programs that will defer and limit capital investment. In addition, they must consider how to create partnerships with their customers and third parties to create new revenue streams.

This track will provide an in-depth analysis of end-use commercial and industrial (C&I) and residential customer smart grid technologies, services and solutions

Cyber-securing the Grid

Like every other sector of our society, utilities are exposed to a litany of threats to both their physical and cyber assets, as well as their financial well-being. The nature of the electric utility business makes generating plants, powerlines, substations and customer connections vulnerable and easily accessible to both physical and cyberattacks.

This track focuses on solutions and lessons learned regarding identifying areas of highest cyber risk to the T&D network in an effort to ward off attacks that could prove disastrous.

The ever-increasing regulatory requirements challenge utilities to meet their regulatory obligations. Security specialists will find this track has information that is current and important to how they reduce threats to the systems they are charged with protecting.

Data-driven Digital Utilities

Utilities are increasingly trying to make sense of the enormous amount of data that they are collecting from their assets and their customers. This track includes utility best practices and new concepts that create value by analyzing the data across a utility’s many lines of business from equipment, to energy management, to customer management. In addition, utilities are also understanding that protecting sensitive customer data is also key for the new digital utility and so data privacy issues may also be discussed.


The electric grid is becoming more complex and much of this complexity stems from the rapid rise of distributed energy resources (DER) such as behind-the-meter assets like solar PV, batteries, and smart thermostats that smart control water heaters and air conditioners. In addition, utilities are implementing front-of-the-meter DER such as storage at substations and along feeder lines to maintain grid stability. Because of this rise of DER, grid operators must understand the operational concepts, capabilities and architectural principles related to managing and controlling them.

The DER management system (DERMS) is emerging as one of the main technological solutions needed to manage the complex grid. In addition, some entities are using virtual power plant (VPP) platforms to aggregate and control DER.

This track will focus on the latest trends and technologies related to DER management and control.

Distribution Automation

Successful distribution automation requires the integration and enhancement of various technologies, including smart switching and protective devices, smart sensors, intelligent controls, telecommunication protocols, devices and infrastructure, along with analytical and simulation software, to facilitate real-time decisions and meet growing customer expectations. Due to smart distribution technology implementations, software tools are being developed to integrate information from dissimilar devices and systems and summarize the information to facilitate and enhance decisions addressing reliability, distributed energy resources, conservation and power quality.

This track focuses on technologies, road maps and equipment used for distribution feeder automation development, including distribution automation, protection and control, fault location and service restoration; Volt/VAR optimization; smart sensors applied in DA or FLISR applications; and challenges and successes in implementing and integrating automation.

Energy Storage

Utilities have always looked for ways to increase the reliability, flexibility, security and efficiency of power delivery systems. The introduction of renewables has led to an increased focus on energy storage to address both traditional and emerging power system needs, such as to maintain/improve reliability, defer capital investments, integrate DER, enable microgrid implementation, enhance system efficiency and performance, and enable new electricity market products and concepts.

This track presents applications of centralized and distributed energy storage technologies to address existing and emerging power delivery issues. It discusses technical, business and regulatory aspects specifically related to energy storage including case studies, engineering design, operations, planning, benefit/costs analyses, implementation barriers and regulation/policy challenges. Presentations and discussions focus on real-life industry experiences and results from actual utility projects.

Electric Vehicles and Beyond

In a decarbonized world everything will be electric, from industrial appliances, to transportation to heating and cooling and more. As we move toward electrification, the emphasis today is on electric mobility, following which will be electric heat pumps for heating and cooling, electric buildings and much more. Utilities are grappling several aspects of this emerging trend: should they encourage time of use charging for EVs, should they help their customers install chargers via subsidies, how will the increased charging load affect power flow? Issues surrounding how utilities should approach the looming electrification of transportation will be discussed in this track.

Grid Modernization Technologies

Experts predict that the grid of the future will be stronger, greener, and more resilient than ever but what will it take to get there? This track explores the modernization and automation technologies that utilities can use to take the grid where it needs to go. It will examine IEC 61850-based digital substations, grid-edge intelligence, system top-down configurations, substation equipment condition monitoring, renewable-grid interconnections, smart sensing, and non-conventional instrument transformers.

Additional topics will include advanced distribution management systems (ADMS), advanced metering infrastructure, microgrids and more. The emphasis of the track centers on improving grid operations through automation, monitoring, control and optimization

The Next-Gen Utility Business

So much of the changes that are taking place in the utility ecosystem will require business model and operational changes to how utilities fundamentally do business. Formerly separate working groups are discovering that they will make more progress working as a team than in a siloed environment. Utilities understand they must make adjustments to their organization, but many are unclear about where to begin and how to implement sweeping operational changes.

This track explores how the utility of the future could look, understanding that different regions will have different models of succes

Resiliency Planning and Preparation

Vegetation, weather events, and aging infrastructure are just a few of the reasons that it’s harder than ever for utilities to keep the power on. Further, world events like the COVID-19 pandemic have forced all companies to put even more emphasis on keeping workers safe when disasters occur. Outage management, fleet management, GIS and mobile workforce management are all components of successful resiliency planning and can help utilities get back up and running quickly.

This track focuses on solutions and lessons learned identifying areas of high risk for failure and planning for how to mitigate and solve problems when they inevitably occur

Smart Cities/Iot

Smart cities are hot! Electric utilities are at the heart of the effort to bring smart technologies to street lights, sidewalks, buildings, parking lots, pedestrian safety and the list goes on. Utilities are, in many cases, providing the electric, communications and device infrastructures that form the core ecosystem upon which connected and interoperable devices are built. The emergence of smart cities is happening all over the world and expanding into smart communities and smart homes.

Communities are delivering customer value by improving and optimizing electricity and natural gas delivery; managing water resources; transforming transportation infrastructures; and, leveraging sensor data to improve building efficiency. In the process, cities and communities are becoming safer, more sustainable, greener and more efficient.

The sessions in this track will look at some of the technologies and trends that will allow utilities to live in the interconnected world of smart cities that is being created through IoT.