Conference for Protective Relay Engineers celebrates 65 years

The Conference for Protective Relay Engineers has just completed its 65th annual meeting at Texas A&M University, a significant achievement for the electric utility industry.

The latest control and protection technology for the electric utility industry is presented annually at the relay conference where more than 260 engineers participated in a week of technical activities that included tutorials, technical panels and papers, and industry breakout sessions.

Founded in 1946 by electrical engineering Professor John Haupt, the relay conference quickly became an important annual event for the electric utility industry. Major technical developments introduced over the past six decades to improve the safety and efficiency of the electric power system were first presented at the Texas A&M relay conference. The conference has been chaired since 1988 by Dr. B. Don Russell.

“I am the fourth chair of the relay conference in 65 years,” Russell said, adding that the conference is possibly the longest continually running industry conference at Texas A&M. “The first three chairmen were professors at Texas A&M. These include Haupt, John Dennison and Bob Chenowith.”

“We are extremely proud of the Conference for Protective Relay Engineers and its long history in connecting our college to the electric power industry,” said Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering. “Energy delivery, particularly electric power, is more important to the U.S. economy than ever before. Conferences like this are mutually beneficial to the university and industry as we develop products and systems to improve our power system.”

Russell said that the connection between colleges of engineering and industry is significant, and with the changes that have occurred in the electric power industry, including increased concerns over reliability and a business emphasis on efficiency and cost savings, the relay conference is even more important.

“The continued dominance of the United States in technology is no longer certain,” he said. “Activities like the Conference for Protective Relay Engineers give manufacturers, industry engineers and university researchers an opportunity to share ideas and generate creative new technologies that will ensure the continued quality and efficiency of electric power delivery.”

Russell is a Distinguished Professor and Regents Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He holds the Harry Bovay Chair in the Dwight Look College of Engineering. Russell is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is former president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Power and Energy Society. He currently serves as vice president of the US Committee of The International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE).