Standing in support of the GRDA mission

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

Restoration work … GRDA Linemen unload new poles as they prepare to rebuild a downed power line structure damaged by high winds in late January in Ottawa County. Like thousands of others all across the GRDA energy delivery system, that one structure contributes to GRDA’s overall mission to provide low-cost, reliable electricity to Oklahoma.

Restoration work … GRDA Linemen unload new poles as they prepare to rebuild a downed power line structure damaged by high winds in late January in Ottawa County. Like thousands of others all across the GRDA energy delivery system, that one structure contributes to GRDA’s overall mission to provide low-cost, reliable electricity to Oklahoma.

It is just one wooden H-frame power line structure, located in the middle of a field in Northeast Oklahoma. There is really nothing about it to distinguish it from its neighbors. In fact, if you looked to the northeast or the southwest, all down the right-of-way, there would be others just like it. It does not move and it does not make a noise. It stands there.

However, that one H-frame wooden structure is part of an organization and a mission that had a $453 million impact on Oklahoma in 2012 while supporting over 4,000 jobs in the state.

Just by standing there in that field, the structure does its part for the Grand River Dam Authority’s mission. Like every other structure along that line, it helps support the overhead wires that transmit 69,000 volts of electricity across the GRDA energy delivery system.

So when that one structure was suddenly not standing anymore — after being toppled by high winds during a stormy Tuesday morning in late January — replacing it became an immediate top priority. Though GRDA’s energy delivery system has important redundancies in place and power could be re-routed around the damaged structure, having the primary feed back in the air is always the best scenario. So, while GRDA System Operations personnel inside the Energy Control Center took the necessary steps to keep the power moving safely and reliably, GRDA Power Line Maintenance crews headed to that field.

A muddy landscape, along with cold winds and rains awaited them at the site. However, for electric linemen, unfavorable weather conditions are oftentimes the rule, not the exception, during rebuild efforts. It may go a little slow during such conditions but still, the work proceeds. Soon enough new holes were dug, new poles were placed in those holes and a new H-frame structure was bolted together, once again supporting the electric lines that power Oklahoma; once again, supporting the mission.

Of course, the effort of those linemen always supports the mission. They are well-accustomed to what it takes to provide low-cost, reliable electricity. They also know the landscape and the routes where GRDA’s 1,200 miles of power lines travel all across Oklahoma. Most importantly, they understand those lines don’t just deliver electricity to municipalities, electric cooperatives and industries in the state; they also deliver the energy that helps Oklahomans go to work and the light and warmth that welcomes Oklahomans back home.

From one wooden H-frame structure and a group of cold, wet and muddy linemen, to thousands of Oklahoma jobs and millions of dollars to impact the state’s economy. It’s all part of a GRDA mission that is good for Oklahoma.   

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