A Quiet Milestone

Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

It was a quiet milestone, but a milestone nonetheless.

An aerial view of the GRDA Coal Fired Complex, the steam-driven turbine generators at the Complex provide electricity for thousands of Oklahomans. As of June 1, GRDA has paid off all the debt it issued 30+ years ago to construct this important facility.

An aerial view of the GRDA Coal Fired Complex, the steam-driven turbine generators at the Complex provide electricity for thousands of Oklahomans. As of June 1, GRDA has paid off all the debt it issued 30+ years ago to construct this important facility.

The Grand River Dam Authority achieved a new financially-related mark when the original debt for the construction of the Coal Fired Complex (CFC) was paid off, along with all debt for facility upgrades completed before 2002. GRDA’s bond trustee made the final principal payment on that original debt on June 1.

That is impressive when you consider that in 1987, GRDA issued over a billion dollars to refund all bonds outstanding at the time. The majority of the refunded debt related to the cost to construct the two-unit CFC and upgrades to the transmission system to move the additional generation back in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The CFC facility has provided the bulk of GRDA electric generation to meet customer needs ever since.

Of course, that construction was funded with revenues from bond sales; something GRDA has done several times throughout its history. Those who bought the bonds essentially made an investment in GRDA’s future. Even today, GRDA bondholders in 76 of 77 Oklahoma counties continue that investment by holding a total $272 million in GRDA bonds. Being able to make the final payment on the bonds that funded the CFC is a significant way for GRDA to honor that Oklahoman investment.

“Much like individuals might have bankers make their property taxes and insurance from an escrow account, we make monthly payments to our bond fund trustee,” said GRDA Chief Financial Officer Carolyn Dougherty. “On June 1, they made the final annual principal payment on the original CFC debt. It might have passed quietly but it’s an important moment in the history of GRDA.”

Like all other moments in the nearly-75 year history of GRDA, this one was made possible because of the Authority’s 500-member Oklahoma workforce, a broad customer base and stakeholders all across the state that provide the real “power for progress.”

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. GRDA’s low-cost, reliable power touches 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir.

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