Federal requirements, fishing access and fencing…

Below GRDA's Robert S. Kerr Dam, a new fenced walkway opens up the popular fishing area along the rip rap. Federal requirements prompted GRDA to relocate the fishing access last year.

New security requirements, handed down by the federal government, prompted the Grand River Dam Authority to reconfigure the way the public can access the fishing area located below Robert S. Kerr Dam.

Because it has been a very popular fishing area for many years, GRDA made every effort to spread the word about the access change when it occurred last summer. The area’s ongoing popularity also prompts reminders, like this one.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) required new security fencing to be installed around the Kerr Dam grounds; GRDA constructed a new parking area, just west of the now-fenced area. Along with that, a fenced walkway, leading down to the riprap was installed. That walkway still provides access to the same fishing site the public has utilized for many years.

NERC is actually a non-government organization with the statutory responsibility to regulate the nation’s electric utilities, like GRDA. Those utilities must follow NERC standards in the operation of their portion of the national electric power grid. In 2007, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), granted NERC the legal authority to enforce standards related to electric reliability, which includes security standards at electric generation facilities.

However, NERC’s oversight does not end there. Several GRDA personnel have to be NERC-certified to perform their duties. There are also NERC standards affecting other areas of GRDA, like rights-of-way and power line maintenance, and network security, just to name a few.

At the nation’s electric utilities, the responsibility of meeting such standards falls across many shoulders, departments and locations. For GRDA, the ultimate goal is to maintain its role as a reliable, low-cost supplier of electricity; whether that involves reconfiguring access to a popular fishing area or providing ongoing training for employees.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable; electricity serves nearly 500,000 homes in Oklahoma and stretches into 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. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.

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