GRDA Assistant General Manager Honored

Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma
MESO Press Release
For Immediate Release
September 26, 2012

GRDA Assistant General Manager of Thermal and Hydro Generation Charles Barney. MESO recently honored Barney with its “Ray Duffy Personal Service Award.”

Oklahoma City — Grand River Dam Authority Assistant General Manager of Thermal and Hydro Generation Charles Barney has been named as recipient of the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma Ray Duffy Personal Service Award.  The award is given annually to an individual who has brought great credit to himself and to the electric power industry by service and his actions.  Barney oversees GRDA’s diverse generation portfolio which includes hydro generation at the Pensacola and Robert S. Kerr Dams, a pumped storage project near Salina, a 1,000 mw coal fired complex near Choteau, the Redbud Generation Station near Luther, and an ownership interest in the new Canadian Hills wind power project near El Reno.

Barney achieved a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona.  He was with Arizona Public Service for 10 years before coming to GRDA in 1988 as Superintendent of the Coal Fired Complex (CFC).  During his long tenure, the CFC has consistently been ranked among the nation’s most reliable coal generation facilities and for 15 years the CFC ranked in the bottom 10 power plants nationally in fuel cost.  Barney and his management team are responsible for the reliability of the plants while Barney himself was the lead negotiator for GRDA on coal procurement and rail coal freight rates for the CFC. 

In April of 1999 he was named Assistant General Manager for Thermal Generation and in 2011 assumed control of all of GRDA’s generation assets. During his tenure he has directed major overhauls of both turbine generators as well as updates of all controls (the original plants had analog controls) and update of major emissions systems. He is currently updating the overhaul of the hydropower generators at the Kerr Dam.

MESO is the trade association for Oklahoma’s 65 public power utilities which includes GRDA’s municipal power customers.  The Ray Duffy Award is the association’s highest honor.  In presenting the award, Stillwater Assistant City Manager Dan Blankenship stated, “From the time I began my work in Stillwater and learned of our power supply relationship with GRDA, one thing was always clear to me.  The customers held Charles Barney in the highest of esteem.  Charles Barney was always considered the ultimate professional and a person whose operations ability and negotiations ability had saved customers millions upon millions of dollars both in fuel cost and costs of downtown in the operations of the coal fired units.  For 24 years he has been a stable force in the management of a major portion of our state’s electric generation portfolio and all of us at MESO feel fortunate that he has given us his professionalism and his ability.”

MESO was created in 1971 as an association of cities and towns.  The group provides services for its 110 utility members including mutual aid in emergencies, electric distribution management, line worker training, power supply assistance, and legislative and regulatory representation.  The award was given at the association’s annual meeting done in conjunction with the Oklahoma Municipal League in Oklahoma City.

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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For more information, contact:

MESO: Shane Woolbright      405 323 2569
GRDA: Justin Alberty        918 256 5545