Working together, for Oklahoma

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

Staying connected …  A GRDA high-voltage transmission line illuminated by an early morning sunrise. Like these lines, which exist to transmit reliable, abundant electricity to its customers, GRDA also stays connected by building powerful relationships , with an emphasis on communications. In mid-February, the Authority held its annual winter customer meetings to make sure the lines of communication are always open and always connected.

Staying connected … A GRDA high-voltage transmission line illuminated by an early morning sunrise. Like these lines, which exist to transmit reliable, abundant electricity to its customers, GRDA also stays connected by building powerful relationships , with an emphasis on communications. In mid-February, the Authority held its annual winter customer meetings to make sure the lines of communication are always open and always connected.

Long-term relationships with customers are common at the Grand River Dam Authority. In fact, GRDA has partnered with most of its municipal (public power) customers for over 60 years now. Working together, GRDA and its customers have helped to promote economic development and enhanced quality of life, all while powering the homes and businesses of thousands of Oklahomans.

However, these relationships go beyond just electricity and actually impact the financial well-being of the customer community. In a typical year, GRDA’s 16 municipal “public power” partners in Oklahoma return a combined $36 to 38 million to city coffers. These funds, all generated at no expense to tax-payers, are then available to help fund other important city services. Sure, it is a story we have talked about before, but these numbers, and this public power model, are very important to the past, present and the future of GRDA and its Oklahoma partners. It is an idea that has worked in Oklahoman hometowns for close to 70 years now.

Still, the model is only as successful as the partnership and, in turn, the partnership is only successful when there is open communication. GRDA has always tried to promote that by involving its customers in important decisions, such as a long-term generation plan, which was developed in 2013 and eventually led to the decision to construct the new Unit 3 gas plant. When that unit goes online later this year, it will give GRDA a new resource to meet customer needs for decades to come. And that is important, because all of these public power communities have long-term contracts with GRDA and are depending on reliable and abundant electricity from the Authority’s resources until at least 2042.

This week, GRDA hosts its customers for the annual meetings; something that has taken place in February for several years now. These meetings are always an opportunity for GRDA to share its 10-year financial forecast with customers, while also updating them on important issues and projects. Most importantly, there is always an opportunity for open communications, for Q&A and discussion about these long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships and the role they play in helping thousands of Oklahomans each day.

Together, GRDA and its customers are making Oklahoma a better place to live, work and play.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.