IEEE REPC Conference History

60th Annual

IEEE Rural Electric Power Conference

1956 – 2016


 Celebrating 60 years of providing sound, usable technical information and networking for engineers from all facets of the electric utility industry responsible for reliable electric service to rural and suburban areas


Rural Electric Power Committee: an Update

On the 60th Anniversary


Introduction: The Rural Electric Power Committee (REPC) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year.  It has a long history of providing sound, usable technical information and networking for electric utilities that serve rural and suburban territory. The IEEE REPC was formed in 1956 by a group of engineers as a forum to share best practices for undertakings organized by that part of the electric utility that provides service for areas other than densely populated urban areas.  Participants came from a variety of interests. Large IOUs sent engineers from their rural operating divisions. Other attendees were from smaller cooperative and municipal utilities that served no urban but maybe some suburban customers.  Engineers attended from companies that provided products and services to these utilities.  Engineering professors and students also attended to see today’s real world and to help explore tomorrow’s possibilities.  Because of this diversity all REPC members stay abreast of actual performance of available technology from every viewpoint.  Suburban and rural expansion has challenged suppliers of electricity providing service to areas that were in the boonies 60 years ago.  REPC has evolved with the needs of the members.


This article intends to showcase how rural engineers are often at the forefront of technical developments; not “leading from behind.”  This is possible because the atmosphere of teamwork and cooperation exists within the REPC. Conference attendees intentionally did not spend time trying to resolve political and/or legal controversies in the industry.  Attendees understood they all faced similar engineering/operations challenges and could learn much from each other on those challenges while other utility employees dealt with non-technical issues.

The Early Years: Papers were presented and subcommittee meetings were held to discuss a variety of subjects such as: Practical Factors in Rural System Planning (1957); Time Lag Loading for Farm Motors (1963); Who Profits from Electric Heating and Cooling (1963).  As early as 1961, REPC attendees heard a paper presented on Computer Applications for Rural Distribution.  Paper presenters included folks from Maquoketa Valley REC, Clark County PUD, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Rural Electrification Administration, Line Materials Industries, Iowa State University, Southern Engineering Company, Farmers’ Electric Coop, Illinois Power Company, Sangamo Electric Company and Kansas State University; just to name a very few.  The attached list of past chairpersons demonstrates the diversity of membership. The late Peter Lee of Ulteig Engineering was one of the original founders of REPC.  He would instruct paper presenters, “Be sure your paper is something attendees can take home and use.  If you need some high-falutin theory to prove your point, put it in the appendix.”


Evolution of the REPC: The REPC has a substantial number of emeritus members who remain active in the committee.  REPC has a reputation of being an event where engineers new to the industry can be immersed in a crash-course that profits their employer.  Experience blending with new vision in a mutually beneficial long term relationship.   Technology used in rural applications is driven by the culture of those people who inhabit the rural areas all over the world.   Even today members of some groups live a simple life and shun the use of modern technology.  At the same time, other consumers of electric power from rural utilities have been known to embrace emerging technology even before their urban friends do.  REPC provides awareness of lessons learned while deploying this technology around the world.  REPC members continue to work closely with entities like NRECA International that provide funding and technical support to emerging economies.  Papers have been presented on Problems Facing Developing Countries Planning for Rural Electrification (1965). Rural Electrification Problems & Situations in Latin America (1965).  IEEE REPC members are currently engaged with an IEEE-IAS group that is investigating electric power line fatalities in India.


As the rural economy evolved, the electric utility industry evolved also, sometimes with anxiety.  REPC Papers: Design Considerations For Serving Industrial Loads (1967); Farm Loads Change To Three-Phase (1967);  Forecasting Loads on Small Electric Distribution Systems (1967); Overcurrent Protection of Motors Served by Phase Converters (1967); A Large Power User’s View of the Rural Electric System (1968). Experience with Underground in Coastal Areas (1968).



Technical Developments: Since 1956, numerous technical issues originated in rural areas and were addressed by REPC engineers.  Urban solutions were adapted to rural culture.  In many cases, ingenious rural solutions were implemented by the urban utilities. The list below outlines the developments and includes a few examples of the 883 papers presented in 59 years of REPC.  Not included in the list are all the papers relating to the efficient planning, design, operation and maintenance of a rural/suburban electric utility system.

  • Farmstead wiring and safety
    • Expanding Farmstead Wiring (1957)
    • Side Effects of Rural Outdoor Lighting (1963)
    • New Safety in Power Tools (1964)
    • Practices for Utility Grounding (1964)
    • Low Voltage Safety Demonstration (1964)
    • Air Ion Studies with Swine (1965)
    • Effects on Mammals of Ground Neutral Voltages From Distribution Lines (1975)
    • Response of Dairy Cattle to Transient Voltages and Magnetic Fields (1994)
  • Rural business, energy efficiency and power quality
    • Who Profits from Electric Heating and Cooling (1963)
    • Control of Voice-Frequency Noise in Electric Power Circuits (1963)
    • Special Duty Motors for Farmstead Mechanization (1964)
    • Results of a Beef Feed Lot Lighting Study (1964)
    • A Large Power User’s View of the Rural Electric System (1968)
    • Electric Brooding and Poultry House Research (1969)
    • Service Reliability Measurements (1969)
  • Consumer energy production
    • Selection and Application of Standby Generators (1968)
    • Rural use of Wind Power to Conserve Energy Resources (1976)
    • Co-generation Application on the TVA System (1981)
    • Dealing With Co-generators & Small Power Producers (1984)
    • Metering Considerations for Consumer Owned Generation Facilities (1984)
  • Big data
    • Computer Applications for Rural Distribution (1961)
    • Engineering Uses of System Data (1969)
  • Smart Grid
    • Electric Control of Automatic Egg Gathering, Processing & Handling (1965)
    • Load Survey Studies as a Prerequisite to Load Management (1976)
    • Management of Electrical Peaks Caused by Irrigation (1977)
    • An Evaluation of Load Management Control of Air Conditioning (1977)
    • Utility Benefits from the Use of Distribution Line Carrier System (1977)
    • Thyristor Cross-talk in Power Control Systems (1977)
    • Co-generation Interface Update (1984)
    • Telephone & High Speed Data Over Dist Lines & Dedicated Wires (1984)


Aubrey Fussell

1914 – 2009


  • BSME University of Texas 1937
  • PE-EE South Carolina 1940
  • US Navy 1941 – 1945
    • Engineering services for ship construction and repair
  • Fussell Engineering Founder: Havre, Montana 1946 – 1971
    • Helped start some of the first electric cooperatives in Montana
  • IEEE_REPC Chairman 1971
  • Glacier Electric Cooperative 1971-1986
  • REPC Papers Presented
    • Voltage Dips That Occur When 3ph Induction Motors Start on V-Phase (1978)
    • Hand Held Calculator Program to Calculate Motor Start V & I & Line Dips (1984)



Peter B. Lee

1922 – 2002


  • U. S. Army 1943-1945
  • BSEE North Dakota State University 1947
  • Ulteig Engineering 1947-1986
    • Spearheaded regional conversion to underground distribution
  • IEEE_REPC Chairman 1978
  • REPC Papers Presented
    • System Planning for Underground Rural Distribution Cable (1969)
    • Application of Reactors to Underground Distribution Systems (1973)
    • Rural Electrocution Safety (1983)
    • Alternate Distribution Voltages (1984)


Chair Last Name First Name Company
1956 Oliver J.M. General Electric Company
1957-8 Kelley H.W. Rural Electrification Admin., USDA
1960 Ridout W. J. Electricity on the Farm Magazine
1961 Smith H.T. Kentucky Rural Electric Corporation
1963-4 Ambroslus C.C. Illinois Power Company
1965 Williams H.J. Public Service of Colorado
1966 Miramontes F.C. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
1967 Sutton G.T. Texas Power and Light
1968 Hicks Jack K. Llnn County Rural Electric Coop
1969 Trlplett William E. Pacific Power and Light
1970 Brown KR Brown Engineering Company
1971 Fussell JA Fussell Engineering
1972 Griffith Lowell E. Illinois Power Company
1973 Soderholm Leo H. Agricultural Research Service, USDA
1974 Phaneuf Paul E. Panhandle Rural Electric Mem. Assoc,
1975 Ross Blair American Electric Power
1976 Mayes Joseph E. Southern Engineering Company
1977 Naslund Ralph E. Norris Public Power
1978 Lee Peter B. Ulteig Engineers. Inc.
1979 Hinkle Donald L. Finley Engineering Co.
1980 Elcher Dennis R. Power Systems Engineering, Inc.
1981 Cresswell Thomas B. Patterson & Dewar Engineers
1982 Keig John D. Stanley Consultants. Inc.
1983 Soper John Southern Engineering Company
1984 Zelenak John A. Detroit Edison Co.
1985 Hertz Claude M. Ronk Electric Industries
1986 Nelson W.T.”Chip” Cobb Electric Membership Corporation
1987 Collier Steven E. C.H. Guernsey & Company
1988 Dedman James C. Rural Electrification Admin., USDA
1989 Carr Wayne MILSOFT Utility Solutions
1990-1 Blackmon Alan Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Inc.
1992 Dew Robert C. Southern Engineering Company
1993 Stetson LaVerne USDA – Ag Research Service
1994 Werner Donald E. Omaha Public Power District
1995 Woodsmall Greg Northern Virginia Electric Coop
1996 Farmer Ken Beauregard Electric Coop.
1997 Schmidt Brad Cass County Electric Coop
1998 Cobb Donald AmerenUE
1999 Bartels Keith Martin Group, Inc.
2000 Wilson Roger Blue Grass Energy
2001 Hannah Alan Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative
2002 Jones Walter D. Stanley Consultants,  Inc.
2003 Thomas Edward S. Utility Electrical Consultants, PC
2004 Brewer Daniel W. Blue Grass Energy
2005 Carr Wayne Milsoft Utility Solutions
2006 Smallwood Cameron L. United Cooperative Services, Inc.
2007 Lankutis David Black Hills Power
2008 Dantzler Russ Mid-Carolina Electric Coop
2009 Hager Gerald ESC engineering  Inc.
2010 Williams Mike Blue Grass Energy
2011 Whitaker-Hamm Rhonda Tennessee Valley Authority
2012 Josken Jerry Cooper Power Systems
2013 Brooks Chris ESC Engineering Inc.
2014 Turk Doug Deep East Texas Electric Co-op
2015 Farmer David UC Synergetic
2016 Shirek Greg MILSOFT Utility Solutions
2017 Schulze Wil IJUS LLC/ SPIDAWeb LLC