Ice storm memories prompt important reminders

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

10 years ago this week … GRDA linemen begin the repair process following a December 2007 ice storm that damaged this stretch of a high voltage power line, near Keetonville, Oklahoma. With winter’s arrival, it is a good time to recall some important safety reminders that should be followed whenever power lines go down due to ice storms or other factors.

It has been a decade now since an early December 2007 ice storm moved through Northeast Oklahoma, leaving a trail of frozen damage in its wake. For the Grand River Dam Authority, the hardest hit areas were along some high voltage power lines north of Tulsa. Like many other Oklahomans, our crews responded by working long hours in difficult conditions to put the pieces back together.

Although no one wants to go through that kind of icy, powerless experience again, it is a good idea for everyone to be as prepared as possible. After all, this is wintertime in Oklahoma. An important part of that preparation is an understanding of the dangers of downed power lines that have fallen under the weight of ice and snow (or due to other reasons).

What follows are a few safety tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International and other sources. We pass them along in hopes that you will stay safe this winter, no matter what weather may come your way.

  • ALWAYS assume fallen power lines are energized. Stay at least 35 feet away from a downed power line and any nearby objects it may be touching, such as a fence or tree limb.
  • Remember, a power line does not need to be sparking or arcing to be energized, even if its sagging close to or on the ground.
  • Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
  • Do not drive over downed power lines.
  • Contact your utility company immediately to report downed power lines outside your home.
  • Never touch a person who is in contact with a downed power line. Call 911 immediately.

Your friends at GRDA want you to stay safe this winter. Please keep these important reminders in mind.

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. 

 

Taking part in the celebrations

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

Usually, Grand River Dam Authority Police Boats are found floating on the waters of Grand Lake or Lake Hudson, but this time of year, you may see them floating down Main Street too.

Floating through the holiday season … A GRDA Police boat taking part in an area Christmas parade. This season, this site will be repeated at 25 different parades throughout Oklahoma.

That is because GRDA is proud to once again participate in Christmas parades all across the service area. You can find our team out taking part in parades in our public power municipal customer communities and also visiting parades in other communities around the lake shores. In fact, GRDA “boat floats” will appear in 25 area parades this holiday season, joining our friends and neighbors along main streets all across Northeast Oklahoma.

Just like a hometown holiday parade, GRDA’s participation is also a tradition. For many years, our officers and other employees have been helping to make the holidays bright in this way. While our team spends much of the year patrolling and maintaining the waters, producing and transmitting the power, we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the hometown holiday festivities as well.

In fact, as a proud member of 26 chambers of commerce, economic development and marketing associations across Oklahoma, GRDA is always right at home in Oklahoma hometowns, year-round. Of course, these are our hometowns too. These are the communities where members of our  workforce are also coaching little league, fighting fires, responding to emergencies, serving on school boards and giving back in many other ways.

So, when it comes time to celebrate at a hometown parade, Team GRDA is ready to take part.

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. 

Efficient and safe holiday lighting

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

Stay safe and efficient this holiday season … GRDA passes along some tips for seasonal lighting from energy.gov.

It’s that time of year again. Time for many of us to decorate our houses with colorful lights to help illuminate the holiday season. However, for many, that also means a little bit of extra electricity usage in the coming weeks. If that is the case in your household, the Grand River Dam Authority hopes you can take advantage of the following seasonal energy saving tips from energy.gov.

  • At the top of the list is, of course, the use of more efficient lighting. If you have not done so already, consider switching to LED lights. They are readily available in many styles and holiday applications and use 70 percent less energy than the traditional incandescent bulbs. They are easy to install and more strings of LEDs can be connected together, end-to-end, than traditional bulbs. Another advantage is that they are durable and last, on average, up to ten times longer than incandescent counterparts.
  • Next, consider the timing of your holiday displays. By using automatic timers to turn your lights on and off, you can keep seasonal lighting costs in check. Set your timers for the prime display hours (evenings) and do not waste electricity by having outdoor lights on all day long.
  • Of course, efficiency is only one element of holiday lighting. Safety is also a key consideration. Whether working with indoor or outdoor lighting, it is important to follow all manufacturer guidelines for usage. Only use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory and conform to all safety standards.
  • Also, be sure to stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles when putting up your display. Another important tip is to make sure that outdoor electric lights and decorations are plugged into ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).

While these tips may be pretty familiar to most holiday lighting veterans, GRDA passes them along in the hopes that they might serve as a refresher for you this year. 

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. 

Hydro power and staying power

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

Combined, these three veteran members of Team GRDA have 120 years of hydroelectric experience. Since the late 1970s, GRDA’s (from left) Willie Crawford, Terry Latta and Craig Landrum have been a presence in GRDA’s powerhouses at Pensacola Dam, Robert S. Kerr Dam and the Salina Pumped Storage Project.

In the Grand River Dam Authority’s hydroelectric facilities – Pensacola Dam, Robert S. Kerr Dam and the Salina Pumped Storage Project – electricity is produced by harnessing the power of falling water. Many times, this electricity is referred to as hydropower. However, within these facilities, “staying power” is also an important product.

At its November 8 meeting, the GRDA Board of Directors recognized this staying power by presenting special resolutions of commendation to three longtime employees. Willie Crawford, Craig Landrum and Terry Latta are all members of the GRDA Hydro Department and together, they have helped the Authority create hydro power since the late 1970s.

In other words, their 40-year careers epitomize staying power.

All three joined Team GRDA at a time when hydroelectricity was the only type of electricity GRDA generated (prior to the construction of the Coal Fired Complex) and all three have spent the majority of their careers in the shadow of a GRDA dam. When it comes to knowledge and skill associated with hydroelectric production, flood gate operation, hydroelectric-turbine generator maintenance or the inner workings of a powerhouse, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Oklahoma with more knowledge than GRDA’s Crawford, Landrum and Latta.

“You have given 120 years of collective service to the Authority,” GRDA CEO Dan Sullivan told the trio during the November board meeting, “and we thank you for your continued service.”

No, none of these hydropower experts are retiring but we wanted to take this opportunity to again recognize their service, skills and dedication to GRDA and its important hydroelectric operations. Like all members of Team GRDA, they play an important role in helping to keep the lights on and electricity flowing. In fact, the low-cost, reliable and abundant power produced by GRDA touches 75 of 77 counties in Oklahoma. It is also part of overall GRDA operations that generate between $510 and $581 million in economic activity each year.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electricity 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. 

Recognizing, supporting our veterans

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

A GRDA truck displays both the United States and Oklahoma flags during an October trip to Florida to help with Hurricane Irma restoration efforts. The image is also a good reminder of the many United States military veterans who are now members of Team GRDA. As Veteran’s Day approaches, we are proud to recognize their service.

As we head towards Veteran’s Day 2017, the Grand River Dam Authority wants to take this opportunity to recognize a significant portion of its workforce that previously served in the United States military.

Today they design substations, maintain power lines, work in GRDA offices, patrol GRDA waters and do many other tasks that help the Authority meet its round-the-clock mission. However, in times past they were marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen. Men and women who gave a large portion of their life to serving their country and now give the same kind of dedication and devotion in their GRDA roles. Approximately 10 percent of the Authority’s workforce is comprised of veterans.

Of course, GRDA is also proud to have once again played a small role in the “Great Deer Hunt” which took place last weekend in Ottawa County. With the GRDA municipal customer community of Miami serving as host, the annual hunt is organized by the River Bottom Sportsmen and the Mid-America Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (MPVA). Thanks to much support from the community and the help of many volunteers, the hunt is an opportunity for disabled veterans to do just that: experience a hunt. GRDA participates by making approximately 750 acres of its land along the Neosho River bottoms available for these very special hunters. This year, seven veterans had the opportunity to participate.

GRDA is proud to have played a small role in this important effort to recognize and support veterans. We are also very appreciative of the large and important role that each of our Team GRDA military veterans plays every day. Their dedication and skill helps keep the lights on, allows GRDA electricity to touch 75 of 77 counties in Oklahoma and helps the Authority’s operations to generate economic activity greater than $500 million in the Oklahoma economy annually. 

Today, we recognize those efforts. We also send a special “thank you” to the Great Deer Hunt team for allowing us to once again be a part of this special event.

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.