GRDA: The Focus Remains At Home

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

Last week, the Grand River Dam Authority joined with the nation’s 2,000 other publicly-owned electric utility systems to celebrate National Public Power Week. In every state except Hawaii, these utilities are supplying low-cost, reliable power to roughly 21 million electric meters, which represents roughly 15 percent of the total electricity consumption in the United States.

Like all electric substations in the GRDA system, this one – located near the GRDA Energy Control Center – plays an important role in efforts to deliver reliable power to customers. GRDA uses approximately 300 substations and over 1,200 miles of electric lines to move that power all across the state.

Closer to home, GRDA electricity helps power at least 54 different Oklahoma communities, either through direct sales or through sales to other utilities. In those communities, ownership of the electric distribution system means most dollars generated by revenues from electric sales can stay at home, where they will do the most good. In fact in 2010 – based on the latest numbers from the American Public Power Association – these 54 communities generated a combined $345 million in electric revenues. Though there are other factors to consider, that figure is a good representation of the impact of public power in Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, in practically every corner of the state – including areas where GRDA power does not reach – Oklahomans are still counting on its future success. That is evidenced by the fact that residents in 76 of 77 counties (excluding only Pushmataha) own GRDA bonds. That represents a statewide investment in a strong GRDA future; an investment of roughly $278 million.

So, even as GRDA takes part in the nationwide celebration of public power, the real focus remains at home, in Oklahoma, where the positive impact is felt statewide. After all, from the banks of the Grand River – where the GRDA idea was born – all the way across the state to Texas County, Oklahomans have invested in GRDA.

Likewise, GRDA has invested in Oklahoma. A workforce of 500 Oklahomans, a diverse generation portfolio of hydroelectric, coal and natural gas resources, and a history of low-cost, reliable service to the state are all part of that investment. As it moves into the future and all the opportunities and challenges that await, GRDA is positioning itself to strengthen that investment for our neighbors across 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.