Saluting our veteran workforce

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

As we pause to celebrate Veteran’s Day, GRDA also wants to recognize the many members of its current and retired workforce that previously served in the United States Armed Forces.

As we approach Veteran’s Day 2018, the Grand River Dam Authority once again is using this space to recognize a significant portion of our workforce that once served in the United States Armed Forces.

Today, they are electric linemen, mechanics, relay technicians, plant operators, engineers, police officers, office employees and much more. Yesterday, they were soldiers and sailors, airmen and marines. Today, they are at work in power plants, in bucket trucks, in offices and shops right here in Northeast Oklahoma. Yesterday, they were on ships, in tanks and stationed at military bases around the globe. Today, we are proud they are here with us and we are proud to call them our coworkers.

Roughly ten percent of the current GRDA workforce is comprised of military veterans. Meanwhile, many GRDA retirees also served in the military before beginning their careers with our organization. Down through the years, the experiences, expertise and devotion to duty demonstrated by these individuals have helped GRDA to accomplish its 24/7/365 mission for Oklahoma. With the skills learned in the military, these men and women have helped to build and operate electric generation and transmission assets like dams and substations. They have also helped to guide the Authority on a daily basis in hundreds of different roles. Their service to the country continues to benefit GRDA and the state of Oklahoma today.

So, once again, as we pause to celebrate Veteran’s Day 2018, we salute our veteran workforce including those with us today and those who are now enjoying retirement. Thank you, Team GRDA!

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.

Stay warm, but stay safe

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

As cooler temperatures arrive and we all seek ways to stay warm, the Grand River Dam Authority wants to pass along some safety tips that can be helpful if you are using a space heater.

It’s the season for falling leaves, shorter days and cooler temperatures. For many of us that also means we will be spending more and more time indoors in the weeks and months ahead. As we move into this time of year and seek warmth in our comfy, cozy houses, we need to make sure that safety is always a priority. If some of your home’s warmth comes courtesy of an electric space heater, the Grand River Dam Authority wants to pass along the following safety tips to you. They come courtesy of the Electric Safety Foundation International (esfi.org).

  • First of all, make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory. And, before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
  • Inspect the heater. Does it have cracked or broken plugs, or any loose connections? If so, do not use it.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
  • Remember, space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs. Also, locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard. Place them on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.

These are just a few of the tips you should keep in mind. For more electric safety information, visit esfi.org. Stay warm, but stay safe!

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.

Ready to respond

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

Ready to respond … Clint Bogle, a member of the Grand River Dam Authority’s Substation Maintenance Department, surveys the scene inside one of the Authority’s substations. From power plants to electric lines, and from substations to system operations, GRDA personnel make electric reliability a priority each day. And, when storms or accidents cause an interruption in power flows, they make quick and safe power restoration the top priority.

Sometimes it happens because of the weather, sometimes it happens because of an animal, sometimes it happens because of an accident and sometimes it may happen because of an equipment failure or for other reasons.

The point is, electrical outages can occur for a number of reasons. That is why it is so important for utilities like the Grand River Dam Authority to have experienced personnel who are prepared to respond promptly and safely to get the lights back on. At GRDA, these employees can be found in many departments and facilities. From the system operations personnel who are typically the first to see power disruptions on the system to the field personnel who respond to the trouble at all hours, under all sorts of weather conditions, it truly does take the effort of a skilled, dedicated team to get the power flowing again safely and promptly.

Of course, the best preparation for power outages happen long before any unplanned outages ever do. Through ongoing employee training, a commitment to a culture of safety, preventive maintenance and other initiatives, Team GRDA is working every day to not only produce the power but to make sure it flows reliably across the system. And when it doesn’t? The team is ready to respond to make the necessary repairs.

They know how to reroute the power around troubled areas, they know the best approach to repairing the damage and, most of all, they know GRDA customers and thousands of Oklahomans are counting on them to do just that.

No one likes a power outage, but when it does happen, Team GRDA is always ready to respond.

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. 

Tips for winterizing your boat

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

Ready to winterize? … It may be a bit early to be thinking about this kind of weather around the lake (and, who knows, we may not see it at all this year) but still, if you are thinking about winterizing your boat to protect against weather like this, the GRDA Police Department wants to share some tips you should keep in mind.

While the waters of Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and  the W.R. Holway Reservoir can be inviting and scenic year-round, we realize it is getting closer to that time of year when many avid boaters are putting their vessels away for the upcoming winter months. If that is your plan in the weeks ahead, here are a few tips to keep in mind, courtesy of the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department:

First of all, make sure it is cleaned. Remove all the stains and the dirt, give it a fresh coat of wax to help preserve it and also make sure the bilges are clean and completely dry. Next season, when you hit the water, you will be glad you took these extra steps.

Next, inspect everything. Check for damages to the propeller, to the wiring, the lights, etc. Are there any loose or broken pieces? Take care of that now, instead of letting them set all winter. While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to inspect your boat trailer as well.

It’s also important to maintain it. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations for winterizing the boat motor and vessel. This will likely mean replacing spark plugs, changing oil and filters, topping off fuel tanks and adding stabilizers, removing hoses and other details that will help protect this valuable asset until that grand day when you can get back out on the lake again.

Need help? Contact a marina or boat dealer for professional winterization work on your vessel.

Finally, protect it and secure it. Use a high quality cover that allows for some airflow but prevents UV rays from beating down on the boat’s surface. Protect it from the elements. Then, make sure you have removed all the valuables from the boat and the dock. Motion activated lights and security cameras might be a good investment too, depending where you are storing your boat. It’s also a good idea to photograph everything once it is buttoned up for the winter, so you have a record of how you left it.

Your friends at GRDA want you to enjoy your boat and your time on the water. Keep these tips in mind to help make that possible.

Celebrating Public Power Week 2018: Part 2:

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

Next time you see a lineworker, be sure to give them a high five. They are truly heroes who work hard to keep the lights on.

In recognition of National Public Power Week (October 7-13), the Grand River Dam Authority is taking the opportunity to share more information about public power and the many benefits it provides to the 49 million Americans receiving their electricity from a publicly-owned electric utility.

Right here in Oklahoma, one in every ten communities is public power. Together, locally-owned utilities in these communities combine to serve over 400,000 households in the state. That includes residents in the 15 Oklahoma public power communities that purchase wholesale electricity from GRDA and then resell it to their citizen-owners.

It is a process that has been going on in Oklahoma almost since the first kilowatt was produced in the state. In fact, GRDA’s relationship with most of its public power partners are over 65 years old. Some of those partnerships are older than 70 years.

What are some of the advantages of public power? Here are a few, shared from the American Public Power Association’s #CommunityPowered information:

  • Public power customers pay an average of $160 less per year than corporate utility customers.
  • Communities receive more than $2 billion annually because of investments from public power.
  • Public power customers get electricity back after an outage 74 minutes sooner than non-public power users.

GRDA is proud to play a part in supplying these benefits and proud to join with its Oklahoma public power partners to keep low-cost, reliable and abundant power flowing across the state. For more information on public power in Oklahoma, visit ourlocalpower.org.