Oklahoma’s Public Power Team tells its story

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

Powerful lines … A shot of GRDA power lines in Mayes County. GRDA utilizes over 1,200 miles of lines like this to deliver low-cost, reliable electricity to customers all across the state, including the 16 Oklahoma “public power” communities that depend on sales from electric revenues to help fund other city services. That is at the very heart of the Oklahoma public power story.

Powerful lines … A shot of GRDA power lines in Mayes County. GRDA utilizes over 1,200 miles of lines like this to deliver low-cost, reliable electricity to customers all across the state, including the 16 Oklahoma “public power” communities that depend on sales from electric revenues to help fund other city services. That is at the very heart of the Oklahoma public power story.

Oklahoma’s Public Power Team was “on the field” last week, telling its story during the Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) Conference in Tulsa.

That team, which includes the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA) and the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO), set up shop at the conference to give attendees a chance to see and hear a little more about locally-owned, cost-of-service electric systems.

In Oklahoma, you can find those public power systems in one of every ten communities, spread across 41 counties. Combined, these systems generate roughly $350 million in revenues from electricity sales each year. More importantly though, a large portion of those revenues stay put in the community, where the money can do the most good.

Today, there are 16 Oklahoma communities that purchase their wholesale electricity directly from GRDA. This partnership means they can buy that power at wholesale (not-for-profit) rates and then resell it to their customers at retail rates. The profit made from those sales stays home and helps fund other important public service efforts such as police and fire protection, streets and parks. Those are important and necessary revenue dollars made possible at no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, because of the existence of GRDA and the Oklahoma Public Power Team.

Essentially, that is a brief summary of the story that GRDA, OMPA and MESO shared with hundreds of visitors at the OML conference. However, there is much more to tell about Oklahoma public power and of GRDA. Read more about it in GRDA’s new report, The Power of Power, available on grda.com. It has more details about economic impact, ecosystems management and, of course, more about the Authority’s low-cost, reliable electricity operations in 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 touches75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to 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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