GRDA and the Electric Express

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

An education in electric safety … GRDA Lineman Jesse Payton uses a very powerful display to help demonstrate the need for safety around electric lines for a group of elementary students. The display, and other components, are used in conjunction with GRDA’s Electric Express education program.

An education in electric safety … GRDA Lineman Jesse Payton uses a very powerful display to help demonstrate the need for safety around electric lines for a group of elementary students. The display, and other components, are used in conjunction with GRDA’s Electric Express education program.

It first rolled down the tracks and into area classroom six years ago, and ever since, the Grand River Dam Authority’s Electric Express has been helping to educate area students.

Electric Express is the name of the GRDA program designed to teach elementary students about the basics of electricity, including how it is made, how it is transmitted and, most importantly, how to be safe when you are around it.

GRDA’s Corporate Communications Department worked closely with educators to develop the program and its journal, which is a program booklet that introduces students to the basics of electricity — cells, electric current, simple circuits, etc. — in a fun way.

“We also relied on the expertise of our engineering and electric transmission personnel who helped us develop some of the basic exercises and lesson ideas for the journal,” said GRDA Corporate Communications Specialist Shannon Cook. “Using the concept of a train track as circuit, the students are able to see how electricity moves, how it can be switched on and off and how it needs to complete a circuit.”

Helping to guide the student is the Plugsby, a brightly colored mascot that can be seen throughout the journal. Plugsby offers “Guess Watt” and “Know Watt” features that give students the electric facts in an easy to understand format.

As part of the program, GRDA also works with the schools to bring special demonstrations and displays in for the students. A bicycle hooked to an electric generator helps the students see just how much “pedal power” it takes to power a light bulb. Meanwhile, GRDA’s mobile electric safety display is a very vivid demonstration of the reason we should all stay away from live power lines.

GRDA has taken the program into several schools in the area since 2008, often working with the local public power utility crew as co-presenters. Also, GRDA has set up the displays at various times for school groups visiting the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley.

For more information on the program, contact GRDA Corporate Communications at (918) 256 5545 or by emailing srandolph@grda.com or jalberty@grda.com.
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-plus years.

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– Justin Alberty
GRDA Corporate Communications Director