Power for Progress …
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority
When a small fire occurred in the powerhouse of the Grand River Dam Authority’s Robert S. Kerr Dam last week, firemen from both Locust Grove and Pryor were quick to respond. Fortunately, there were no injuries or structural damage and the fire was quickly and safely brought under control. The fact that things were soon back to normal was very good news indeed.
However, the whole event was a good reminder of the importance of a well-trained, well-equipped team of firemen and emergency response personnel. Whether it is in the more rural areas of Oklahoma, or along the busiest streets in our state, the need for this kind of safety and protection is universal.
Of course, the need for abundant, reliable electricity also stretches across the state and while most people know GRDA is involved in providing that electricity, not everyone realizes GRDA’s presence also helps many communities fill that important safety and protection need.
That happens because the municipal communities that purchase power from GRDA own and operate their own retail, electric distribution system. In other words, they buy wholesale power from GRDA at not-for-profit rates and resell it to the citizens in their communities who actually own the system. Revenues collected from those power sales are then put to work to maintain the system, buy more power from GRDA and help support other important city services like streets, parks, and yes, police and fire protection. That is the public power connection and one of the reasons GRDA has been supplying low-cost electricity to most of these communities for nearly 70 years.
In a typical year, the 16 Oklahoma communities that purchase wholesale electricity directly from GRDA combine to generate approximately $150 million in revenues from electricity sales. Those are important dollars, especially at times when tax receipts may be down and other funding sources are not available. But in the beneficial process of public power, GRDA’s efforts to meet the universal need for electricity continues to boost efforts to meet the universal need for police and fire protection.
In other instances, GRDA support has also helped lake-area fire departments purchase the equipment they need to fulfill their public safety mission. One good example of this is when GRDA donated $2,100 to the Tia Juana Fire Department in 2012. Those funds helped the department purchase important water rescue equipment that could potentially save the life a lake area resident or visitor.
Both types of support reflect the GRDA mission and represent the real value of public power. It is a power that can give back to the people of Oklahoma, while helping to make hometowns and lakeshores safer places to live, work and play.
Every day, a GRDA workforce of 500 Oklahomans (including many who serve as volunteer firemen in their own communities) is part of this process. Working together, they continue to make GRDA public power a powerful asset for Oklahoma.
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GRDA Corporate Communications Director