Staying cool, the efficient way

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

The heat is on …. Even though the weather is heating up, there are some actions you can take to stay cool, efficiently. This week, GRDA is passing along some of those tips from the United States Department of Energy.

Welcome to summer time in Oklahoma! As the temperatures continue to hover near triple digits and we all look for ways to stay cool, many air conditioners and fans are suddenly working overtime. If that is the case in your household, the Grand River Dam Authority hopes you will consider these cooling and energy saving tips, courtesy of the United States Department of Energy (energy.gov): 

  • Of course, it is ALWAYS safety first. Contact a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home. That includes working on your air conditioner and other cooling equipment.  
  • If you have a central air system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the compressor, which is usually done by setting the “auto” mode on the fan setting. Then, use individual fans to circulate the cool air through your home.
  • If you have a whole-house fan, consider using it to keep cool. These fans work in many climates and cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. Use the fan most effectively to cool down your home during cooler times of the day. It will stay cooler through the hotter times of the day without using the fan.
  • Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible in the summer. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Consider using an interior fan along with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
  • Finally, avoid placing appliances that give off heat such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat.

Your friends at GRDA want you to stay safe, and cool, this summer!

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency. 

Electric safety tips for boat operators

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

Boating safety… Although electricity may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think boater safety, the Grand River Dam Authority wants to remind you of some important electric safety tips specifically for boaters.

Even though the July 4 holiday has come and gone, the Oklahoma summer still offers plenty of opportunities to hit the water for boating and the Grand River Dam Authority’s Grand Lake and Lake Hudson are two of the very best locations to do just that. However, as we near the midpoint of the busy boating season, it is a good time to revisit some important electrical safety tips associated with boating.

This may not be something most boaters typically think about when they head out on the water, but your friends at GRDA want you to stay safe, so we are passing along the following tips from the Electric Safety Foundation International (esfi.org).

  • Be aware of your surroundings and potential electrical hazards by checking the location of nearby power lines before boating. Always maintain a distance of at least 10 feet between your boat and nearby power lines.
  • Have your boat’s electrical system inspected and upgraded by a certified marine electrician regularly to be sure they meet your local and state NEC, NFPA, and ABYC safety code and standards. 
  • Have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) installed on your boat. They should also be installed on all docks. Test them once a month.
  • Use “UL- Marine Listed” portable GFCIs when using electricity near water. They will decrease the chances of shock or electrocution.
  • Consider having Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupters (ELCI) installed on boats to protect nearby swimmers from potential electricity leakage into water surrounding your boat.
  • Only use shore or marine power cords, plugs, receptacles, and extension cords that have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or ETL SEMKO (ETL). They are specifically designed to keep you safe when using them near water.
  •  Never use cords that are frayed or damaged or that have had the prongs removed or altered.
  • If you question the safety of your boat’s electrical system, immediately turn off the power supply at the electrical panel and do not turn it back on until it has been checked by a qualified electrician.

 GRDA hopes all your trips to the lake result in enjoyable outings for you and your family.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.

GRDA and OEIP Camp 2018

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

Each summer, the Grand River Dam Authority has the privilege of hosting several area educators. As it opens its doors to its facilities, like the Grand River Energy Center and Robert S. Kerr Dam, these educators have the opportunity to see the many career options that may await their current students.

Teachers taking the tour … GRDA’s Robert Campbell (far left) leads a group of Oklahoma educators on a tour of the Robert S. Kerr Dam powerhouse, during the 2018 Oklahoma Educators & Industry Partnership (OEIP) Camp.

Last week, these special “teacher summer camp” tours took place again, as GRDA and other Oklahoma organizations played host to the Oklahoma Educators & Industry Partnership (OEIP) Camp over the course of three days. Northeast Tech, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, MidAmerica Industrial Park and Rogers State University led the teacher tours, which included stops at GRDA’s facilities, as well as other locations in Oklahoma.

During the GRDA visit, Oklahoma educators were able to get an up-close look at the new GRDA Unit 3 combined cycle gas generation plant and its state-of-the-art equipment that makes it the most efficient 60 hertz power plant in the world. After that, a panel comprised of GRDA employees from various departments and disciplines spoke to the teachers about GRDA’s diverse career paths and the education necessary for each field. Recent Oklahoma legislation that will allow for high school students to earn credit hours during internships was also discussed. GRDA began offering those internships in January of this year. In the afternoon, hydroelectric production was the focus as the group visited Kerr Dam.

Of course, GRDA’s efforts to support Oklahoma education and workforce development has been well-documented in this space before. However, these annual summer teachers’ camps – made possible through cooperative efforts with these important education entities – continue to be a great way for GRDA to highlight its workforce, tell its story and help provide valuable information to Oklahoma teachers.

GRDA is proud of the role it played in helping to make the 2018 OEIP Camp a success.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.

Have a safe, enjoyable summer!

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

Supporting celebration … Fireworks explode above the waters of Duck Creek, on Grand Lake, in this photo from a previous July 4th celebration. The Grand River Dam Authority is proud to help support events like this, and other fairs and festivals all around the lake area and in its customer communities.

Last week the calendar officially rolled over to summer but for several weeks now, we’ve all been spending more and more time outdoors. And of course, here in Oklahoma, there is always plenty to do out there. Whether the activity involves spending time on some of the 70,000 surface acres of water managed by the Grand River Dam Authority (Grand and Hudson lakes and W.R. Holway Reservoir) or floating down the scenic Illinois River, the area’s abundant water resources will be the backdrop for many summertime memories. GRDA understands this and works very hard to protect these natural resources and to help ensure all visitors to these waters have safe and enjoyable outings.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s communities also have a lot to offer during the summer. Independence Day celebrations are nearly upon us and all around the lake shore and across Oklahoma, fireworks displays will soon fill the nighttime sky. Several of these displays were made possible, in part, by the support of GRDA. The organization is proud to play this role in supporting summertime fun.

As a public power partner with 15 Oklahoma communities, GRDA has the opportunity to support unique events, fairs, festivals and fun, as well as year-round economic development. In fact, GRDA is a proud member of 26 chambers of commerce, economic development and marketing associations in the communities and around the shores of our waters.

Meanwhile, our workforce is extra busy off-the-clock this time of year. Team GRDA employees are doing their part to coach little league, serve on school boards, volunteer at community events and do hundreds of other tasks to help make their hometowns great places to live, work and play, not only in summer, but year round. The work they do on-the-clock helps support the important roles they play in their communities. Like many of our ratepayers who call this area home, GRDA employees are committed to seeing their hometowns thrive.

So, from Team GRDA to your household… we hope you have a safe and enjoyable Summer 2018!

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: employees, electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, and efficiency. 

More about Team GRDA

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

Team GRDA, way back when… This photo of GRDA manpower and machinery was taken many years ago, when GRDA owned and operated a steam plant in the present-day MidAmerica Industrial Park (south of Pryor). Throughout its history, GRDA has counted on the skill and dedication of its workforce to meet its important mission for Oklahoma. The equipment and personnel may change, but the important work goes on.

When the Grand River Dam Authority Board of Directors held its regular June meeting in Vinita on June 13, it approved resolutions commending five GRDA employees who are transitioning into retirement. Those five employees combined for over 150 years of service and experience with GRDA.

Those years of service were spent and those experiences were gained in the hydro facilities, working in substations, along GRDA rights-of-way, in offices, at power plants and dozens of other locations across the GRDA footprint. These newest members of the GRDA retiree group helped to maintain electric reliability and computer systems, overhaul hydroelectric turbine generators, provide customer service and, in general, they all helped GRDA to meet its daily mission for its customers and the people of Oklahoma.

While it is obviously difficult to say goodbye to longtime coworkers and careers that have meant so much to GRDA’s success, Team GRDA wishes them the very best as they move into the next chapter. Their knowledge and dedication has allowed the organization to overcome many challenges and realize many successes in the many years they were on the job. These five represent a small sample of the many veteran employees who are now enjoying retirement after making their own important contributions to GRDA over the years. We appreciate each of them.

Of course, the GRDA mission moves on. It moves on with a diverse and dedicated workforce comprised of other veteran employees who are sharing their knowledge and experience and setting an example for a new generation of the GRDA workforce. Tomorrow’s workforce will bring its own innovative ideas and skill sets to the job, but will also benefit from all those who have helped to build, maintain and operate GRDA in years past.

The first “E” in GRDA’s “5Es of excellence” mission stands for Employees. We are proud of our workforce, past, present and future.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: employees, electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, and efficiency.