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Critical Comms 101 for Utilities 


Bobbi Harris  (Executive Director, Utility Broadband Alliance (UBBA))

Paul Anuszkiewicz  (CEO, Palmetto Technology Associates)

Location: W230D

Date: Tuesday, March 26

Time: 8:30 am - 9:00 am

Track: Utilities, State & Local Government

Topic: Broadband, Critical Infrastructure, IT & OT, Private Networks, Regulatory, Smart-X, SCADA, System Resiliency

Format: Power Session

Vault Recording: TBD

More than 3,000 electric utilities across the country are each managing multiple—sometimes more than a dozen—wireless networks in support of grid operations, workforce management, and customer service. Typically, these networks have been developed in an ad hoc manner for application-centric purposes. Utilities are facing a perfect storm of disruption to their century-old operating model.

Without robust, interoperable, and ubiquitous networking, utilities will struggle to digitalize to meet the demands of the grid needs of the future. This push toward Critical Communications infrastructure will come with various spectrum solutions and strategies.

This introductory session will set a baseline for attendees to understand the basics of utility critical communications. Key learning objectives include:

Understanding the importance of utility critical communications networks, by looking at the evolution of public and private networks with the unique characteristics of electric grid operations.

Learning about reliability of the communications infrastructure to deliver safe and reliable electricity. Expanding, maintaining, and repairing electric infrastructure involves working with live electricity. Any disruption of or interference to communications could threaten the safety of utility workers as well as hinder the reliable delivery of electricity to customers.

Narrowband, Broadband, Fiber, wireless, public, private, spectrum…. What are all the key terms and what you need to know about them.

Why should cities care? Because utilities use critical communications networks for essential services that impact your communities including - Real-time monitoring of medium and high-voltage networks, Protective relays, Energy management, Outage management, Distribution management, Smart metering, and Substation automation.