GRDA Purchasing Program Benefits Oklahoma

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

GRDA installed this extra-large electric transformer at a substation near Siloam Springs last year. It is massive in size but is just one example of the kind of diverse materials and equipment the Authority utilizes to meet its mission every day. A modernized, efficient procurement process helps insure everything from transformers to tape are in place when and where they are needed.

The Grand River Dam Authority is an agency with broad responsibilities and diverse functions. Every day, round-the-clock, GRDA personnel are generating electricity at five facilities in Oklahoma and transmitting it across 1,200 miles of high voltage lines. Meanwhile, other employees spend their working days involved with stewardship efforts across the Grand River system; focusing daily on water quality and safety, fisheries enhancement, public outreach and shoreline management. Still other employees are involved in the administration, compliance, communications and accounting of an organization with 12 facilities, 500 employees and annual expenditures exceeding $300 million.

All of that activity helps GRDA meet its mission as low-cost, reliable power supplier, economic development engine for Oklahoma, and a good steward of the natural resources under its control.Yet even with so much activity and responsibility across a broad area, the organization is on the forefront of government modernization in Oklahoma. Through GRDA’s voluntary participation in the State of Oklahoma’s PCard (purchasing card) Program – including the use of the electronic payments program – the state has been able to leverage GRDA’s purchasing power to negotiate higher PCard rebates. Those rebates to the state would not be as high without GRDA’s participation. Additionally, by utilizing statewide contracts, GRDA provides increased volume that allows the state to negotiate better pricing even for other agencies.

Beyond its own operations and mission – completed without the use of any Oklahoma tax dollars – GRDA’s purchasing power benefits the entire state and all taxpayers.

Since receiving valuable benchmarking information from the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s performance audit last December, GRDA has also been working to further streamline and improve its purchasing processes. Several employees who are involved in purchasing activities for the Authority are “Certified Procurement Officers” through the state’s training program and many of those are participants in ongoing purchasing and PCard training courses throughout the year.

For an organization that must purchase everything from coal to copper wire to laboratory chemicals, streamlined, modernized purchasing processes are a must. GRDA’s continued efforts in this area – as well as its contributions to the state’s program – is not only good for ratepayers, but it’s good for all of Oklahoma.

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.