GRDA Crews take part in “Light up the Navajo Nation” project

Thanks to the efforts of the nation’s public power utilities, including the Grand River Dam Authority, thousands of homes on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona are set to receive electricity service for the first time.

In early April, a team of nine GRDA employees traveled to the reservation as part of a mutual aid initiative coordinated by the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and the American

GRDA Linemen Ben Curnutt prepares an electric distribution pole for connection to the power line, on the Navajo Reservation near Chinle, Arizona. Curnutt was one of nine GRDA employees to participate in the “Light up the Navajo Nation” initiative coordinated by the American Public Power Association (APPA) and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA). During its stay in Arizona, GRDA’s team helped bring electric service to 20 homes that have never been powered before. (photo courtesy of APPA).

Public Power Association (APPA). The “Light up the Navajo Nation” project’s goal is to bring together more than 100 volunteers from 24 public power utilities to build electric distribution infrastructure across the 27,000 square mile reservation.

Of the 55,000 homes located on the reservation, as many as 15,000 do not have electricity. In fact, these homes make up a full 75 percent of all un-electrified households in the United States.

During its time on the reservation, the GRDA team split into two separate crews, each working 12 hour days for five days straight, to bring power to 20 homes for the first time.

“GRDA is pleased to be a part of this initiative to bring much needed electricity into these homes,” said GRDA President/Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan. “Providing mutual aid is really foundational to all of public power and this effort is a great illustration of what can be accomplished when these utilities work together.”

Of course, GRDA is no stranger to providing mutual aid to neighbors in need. However, past work has always been done to help another utility restore its system following an ice storm, tornado or hurricane. The “Light up the Navajo Nation” project is the first time GRDA has provided assistance for a new electrification project. Because of the unique nature of this project, the GRDA linemen who participated say it is an experience they will never forget.

“You get out there and you hear some of the stories about a lot of people not having power and that really tugs at your heart,” said Trent Fittje, a GRDA linemen and veteran of several mutual aid trips. “This was people helping people and I am glad I had the chance to be there.”

Another GRDA lineman, Steven Willis, shared about the positive impact electricity would have on a family that would no longer need to refrigerate their child’s medicine at a relative’s home.

“The look on this father’s face when he said “I can put the medicine in my own refrigerator now’ will stick with me from now on,” said Willis.

Echoing Willis’ comments, lineman Brent Scott also shared about the impact electricity was having on another resident’s efforts to warm her home.

“There was an elderly lady, a retired school teacher, who had moved back to the reservation after retirement and lived alone. She had been hauling wood for fuel to keep her warm,” said Scott, adding that an electric heater was now going to make life much easier for her.

Although they battled some difficult terrain, dust storms, high winds, cold weather and even a bit of snow, David Hefner, who served as the GRDA lead in Arizona, called the week of long hours and difficult work a great experience.

“NTUA was very pleased with the work we did and also very grateful to GRDA for allowing us to do this,” said Hefner. “All of us who worked out there are also grateful to everyone within our organization for helping to make this happen.”

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., APPA is the national association for the nation’s 2,000 not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities and represents public power before the federal government. Collectively, these utilities serve 49 million people across the United States.

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: employees, electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship and efficiency.

 

GRDA Linemen at work on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona in early April. GRDA was one of 20-plus public power utilities to participate in the “Light up the Navajo Nation” initiative coordinated by the American Public Power Association (APPA) and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA).

GRDA’s Herron honored with substation name, lifetime achievement award

A Grand River Dam Authority electrical substation, located in the MidAmerica Industrial Park, will now bear the name of GRDA’s soon-to-retire Vice President of Engineering, System

GRDA President/CEO Dan Sullivan (right) presents a retirement resolution to GRDA Vice President of Engineering, System Operations and Reliability Mike Herron during the April 18 meeting of the GRDA Board of Directors, in Tulsa. Also at the meeting, GRDA announced it will be naming a substation, located in the MidAmerica Industrial Park, in honor of Herron, who retires May 1. Herron is a 15-year GRDA veteran but his career in electrical engineering and public power spans nearly five decades.

Operations and Reliability Mike Herron. Herron, who officially retires on May 1, learned of his namesake substation during the April 18 meeting of the GRDA Board of Directors.

GRDA President/CEO Dan Sullivan told Herron that the substation, formerly known as the “3500 West Main Substation” will now be GRDA’s “William M. Herron” substation.

“You have left an indelible mark on GRDA,” said Sullivan. “We appreciate your steadfast commitment to our customers and all of the tireless effort that you have put forth on behalf of them and the entire organization.”

Earlier in the month, Herron, who joined GRDA as Chief Engineer in 2004, was also presented with the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) 2019 Pruett-Lamb Lifetime Achievement Award during MESO’s annual Oklahoma Public Power Conference. That award is given annually to an Oklahoma public power professional who has contributed to the growth of their organization and/or the state’s public power community over the lifetime of their professional career.

His career as an electrical engineer spans nearly five decades. The last 29 years were spent in Oklahoma, first with the City of Stillwater (one of the state’s largest public power utilities) before his GRDA tenure began. At that time, he was already recognized as one of the Midwest’s leading experts on electric distribution design. Always an advocate for public power and electric reliability, Herron has overseen many upgrade projects to the GRDA electrical transmission system during his 15-year GRDA career.

“GRDA has provided me an ample amount of projects to keep my mind occupied and challenged,” Herron told the crowd after the presentation. “Thank you very much for the opportunity to work for you.”

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: employees, electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship and efficiency.

GRDA’s Our Borrowed Water film to show in Langley

A new documentary, detailing the importance of the Grand and Illinois River watersheds, is scheduled for a public viewing on March 25th.

Entitled Our Borrowed Water, the film takes a closer look at some of the issues surrounding these waters while also illustrating their value through the eyes of those who depend on them for work and play. The film does all of this against a backdrop of stunning visuals along Grand Lake and the Illinois River.

The Grand River Dam Authority contracted with 1577 Productions to produce the documentary, which features an intro from GRDA President/CEO Dan Sullivan, as well as interviews with GRDA Vice President of Ecosystems and Watershed Management Dr. Darrell Townsend and GRDA Vice President of Scenic Rivers Operations and Water Quality Ed Fite. Others featured in the film include Illinois River Watershed Partnership Executive Director Nicole Hardiman, OKC Kayak’s Dave Lindo and avid Illinois River fly fisherman Chris Castro.

The first public premier of Our Borrowed Water was originally scheduled for February 19 at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center, but was postponed due to winter weather. The film will now be shown on Monday, March 25th at 6:30 PM inside the Grand Hall at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley. The event is free and open to the public. Following the premiere, there will also be time for a short Q&A session about the film. 

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: employees, electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship and efficiency. 

GRDA postponing February 19 documentary premier

Langley – Due to a winter weather forecast for the Grand Lake area on Tuesday, February 19, the Grand River Dam Authority is postponing the premiere event for its new documentary, Our Borrowed Water, scheduled for that evening at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley.

The event will be moved to a later date, which will be made public as soon as it is scheduled.

Two other premiere events are still planned for next week. On Monday, February 25, the documentary will be shown in the Webb Building Auditorium at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. On Tuesday, February 26, GRDA will show the documentary in the student union (room 510-511) on the University of Arkansas campus. Both events are open to the public and begin at 6:30PM.

Notice to the Public

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC

The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) will hold a public meeting on Friday, March 1st at 7:00 PM at the GRDA Ecosystems & Education Center, 420 E Hwy 28, Langley, OK 74350. The purpose of this meeting is to obtain public comments regarding the proposed changes of the Title 300, Chapter 35, Lake Rules. The proposed changes can be found at www.grda.com. If you would like to submit written comments or have any questions, please contact Brian Edwards, Executive Vice President-Chief of Law Enforcement and Lake Operations at PO Box 70, Langley OK 74350 or 918-256-0880.

CH 35 Lake Rules PROPOSED CHANGES

Notice To The Public

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC

Please take notice that The Grand River Dam Authority has received an application for a private dock requiring directional bearing. Such directional bearing relates to a dock application for a private dock which if approved shall extend 244 feet across a cove.

Applicant: Jeff Bay

Location: Patricia Island

Lake Address: 32600 S 573 RD., Jay, Ok

Legal Description: Township 25N, Range 23E, Section 24

Project: Private Dock

If you would like to request additional information, please address your request to the Grand River Dam Authority Administration Headquarters, P. O. Box 409, Vinita, Oklahoma 74301 or call (918) 256-0632.

GRDA & GLPS Continue Life Jacket Programs

An important partnership, designed to promote life jacket usage for lake visitors, will continue on in 2019.

For several years, the Grand River Dam Authority and the Grand Lake Power Squadron (GLPS) have worked together to distribute free life jackets across the Grand Lake area. In fact, since 2016, GRDA has provided over $20,000 in funding to the GLPS to purchase life jackets. The funding and the partnership have helped to promote life jacket use and even supply life jackets to many of the visitors coming to Grand Lake’s waters each year.

GRDA Community Relations Officer Ed Ferguson (right) presented a $6,000 check to Grand Lake Power Squadron Executive Officer Scott Graves (left) and Commander Kevin Kamrath at the Tulsa Boat Show on Friday, February 1. Funds will be used to support several life jacket distribution programs in the Grand Lake region.

At the Tulsa Boat Sport &Travel Show on Friday, February 1, GRDA presented the GLPS with $6,000 to help fund the program for the coming year and advance its water safety mission.

The GLPS will use the funds to purchase life jackets, which will be distributed to needy recipients at both the Grove Boat Show (March 7 – 10) and the Grand Lake Camp Bandage event scheduled (June 8, 2019). At both events, GLPS volunteers will also provide assistance on proper life jacket sizing. 

Additional life jackets will also be purchased to stock free loaner stations located around the shores of Grand Lake. Stocked with United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved jackets in a variety of sizes, these stations can be a resource for lake visitors who do not arrive with a properly-fitted jacket. The GLPS maintains five loaner stations throughout the lake season at public boat ramps located at Bernice State Park, Wolf Creek Park, Honey Creek State Park, Elk River Landing and Twin Bridges State Park.

The GLPS welcomes the donation of funds or life jackets that can be used in these programs. New or gently used USCG approved life jackets can be dropped by the Grand Lake Visitor Center (9630 US Highway 59, Grove, Oklahoma) to be added to the distribution programs.

“We are proud to partner with the Grand Lake Power Squadron to help provide life jackets to lake area visitors,” said GRDA Chief of Law Enforcement Brian Edwards. “Safe boating always begins with proper life jacket use and we want to do all we can to help make sure those who visit our waters stay safe.”

GLPS is a non-profit boating organization located in Grove, on the shores of Grand Lake. The GLPS is a member of District 30 of the United States Power Squadron.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lake waters in Oklahoma, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. 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. 

Notice to the Public

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC

Please be advised Grand River Dam Authority is proposing changes to its Lake Rules.
Notice of Rule-making Intent
Rule Impact Statement

Floodwater Release Bulletin

At 11:30 AM on Tuesday, January 15:

  • Grand Lake elevation was 745.21 feet. Daily target elevation for January 15 is 742 feet.
  • At the direction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, one (1) main gate was open at Pensacola Dam, discharging 8,009 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water.
  • Five (5) units were online at the Pensacola Dam powerhouse, releasing 11,574 cfs of water through generation.
  • Releases through floodgates and generation totaled 19,583 cfs.
  • Inflows into Grand Lake totaled 14,213 cfs.
  • Lake Hudson elevation was 622.16 feet. Normal elevation is 619 feet.
  • Four (4) units were online at the Robert S. Kerr Dam powerhouse.
  • Releases through generation totaled 33,210 cfs.
  • Inflows into Lake Hudson totaled 19,995 cfs.

Floodwater Release Bulletin

At noon on Saturday, January 12:

• Grand Lake elevation was 744.98 feet. Daily target elevation for January 12 is 742 feet.

• At the direction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, three (3) main gates were open at Pensacola Dam, discharging 23,451 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water.

• Five (5) units were online at the Pensacola Dam powerhouse, releasing 11,442 cfs of water through generation.

• Releases through floodgates and generation totaled 34,893 cfs.

• Inflows into Grand Lake totaled 34,177 cfs.

 

• Lake Hudson elevation was 621.34 feet. Normal elevation is 619 feet.

• At the direction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, one (1) gate was open at Robert S. Kerr Dam, discharging 6,398 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water.

• Four (4) units were online at the Robert S. Kerr Dam powerhouse, releasing 32,940 cfs of water through generation.

• Releases through floodgates and generation totaled 39,338 cfs.

• Inflows into Lake Hudson totaled 46,880 cfs.