2020 introduced large, unpredicted challenges to medical, social, economical, industrial, agricultural, and almost all other sectors of human activities, with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our Department (I&CPSD) and our Society (IAS) is no exception.  Recently, we had to switch our April’s Industrial and Commercial Power Systems Conference to a Virtual Conference.  Selected technical papers will be presented, discussed and further reviewed in the new virtual conference format in the coming few weeks. More updates can be found here: https://attend.ieee.org/icps-2020/welcome/

Subsequently, our active Committees and Work Groups will have separate web site meetings to secure progress in their critical technical activities, and to continue supporting the advancement of our well known recommended practice standards (formerly known as the Color Books).  In the conference forum, our resolute efforts continue to bring together experienced engineers, industry applications researchers and younger engineers, where many aspects of the Industrial & Commercial Power Systems are presented and discussed in relevant papers sponsored by one of the four I&CPS Department Committees.  We are counting on your critical participation in the conference and in the Committee’s activities and hoping to turn challenges associated with such difficult times into motives to work harder for advancing the activities of our Department and Society.

Our Industrial and Commercial Power System Department has a long history.  It started as a committee when the IEEE was formed from the merger of AIEE and IRE in 1965 (See D. Mills history article IAS Magazine Jan-Feb 2015).  Under different designations, the Group joined IAS since its establishment in 1972, and has been part of it since then.  For 55 years we held our annual conference at the end of April or the first part of May every year.  This year our planned 56 Conference was scheduled in the last week of April, in Las Vegas.  With the Worldwide concerns about COVID-19 pandemic and the concerns developed for the health and safety of our attendees, we had to reformat the Conference into a “Virtual Conference”  and we seek your participation for a successful outcome.

A centerpiece and key activity of this conference is the development and updating of one of the most comprehensive series of IEEE Standards on Recommended Practices for Industrial and Commercial Power Systems (formerly known as the 13 Color Books).  Standards Series 3000 working groups will be organizing separate web meetings.  Please keep checking for schedules of such meetings on our web site and participate. Your participation is critical for our efforts to advance the publication of these important standards.

Looking for a brighter future, we aspire to harvest a crop of excellent technical papers, for the subsequent years.  Our presented papers are subsequently reviewed for IAS publications (Transactions and Magazine).  We look forward to our safe gathering next year (2021 – Las Vegas) in 2021.  Meanwhile.  Our friendship and cooperative efforts to advance the industry for the benefit of all humanity will continue throughout the difficult time of 2020.  Despite the distance, we shall see the fruits of our determination and collective efforts.

Thank you, please stay safe and healthy.

Rasheek Rifaat, P.Eng, IEEE Life Fellow
IEEE, IAS, Industrial & Commercial Power Systems Dept., Chair
Calgary, AB, Canada
rasheek.rifaat@ieee.org