Ah! The beginning of a new year! A clean slate, fresh outlook and a crisp diary full of empty pages. Days just waiting to be fi lled with opportunities, meetings, collaborations and the chance to learn something new every day for another 366 days.

That is especially true for those of you reading this edition of Smart Energy International. Welcome to 2020 and our DISTRIBUTECH 2020 edition.

This year, the DISTRIBUTECH team will be showcasing the wonderful city of San Antonio, Texas as they welcome delegates, speakers and other leading industry stakeholders to the premier utility distribution event in North America. We are pleased to provide you with some deeper insight into some of the personalities that will be front and centre during the event. Particularly, the keynote speaker, Paula Gold-Williams, CEO of CPS Energy and a recognised leader in the utility sector. GoldWilliams shared her leadership ethic with Smart Energy International and you can read more about the woman and the utility on pages 36 and 56 of this edition.

But that’s not all. This edition is full of ’not to miss’ titbits from DISTRIBUTECH – such as a new perspective on distribution system planning (page 40), insights into consumer behaviour and customer-centricity (page 52) and a serious question around the complications of grid modernisation (page 38).

We throw the spotlight on cybersecurity for both power and water utilities, including interviews with EPRI (page 58) and Sempra Energy (page 60) and give consideration to how the utility sector can best protect itself from cyberattacks (page 62). Our article on blockchain for cybersecurity may be an answer (page 64). We examine the question of security for water utilities too (page 66).

Last, but certainly not least, we shine on a light on one of the newest considerations: disruption! – disruption! You can get some perspectives on disruption – the good and the challenging – from page 14. We look forward to sharing insights, news and perspectives with you this year and invite you to reach out to us should you have any comments, thoughts or complaints. We’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you all a truly successful 2020.

Claire Volkwyn
Editor – Smart Energy International editorial@smart-energy.com