GRDA offer not entertained by NE Electric Trustee Board

May 12, 2016

Vinita – An offer by the Grand River Dam Authority, which could continue its longstanding partnership with Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, was not entertained by the cooperative’s board of trustees.

GRDA Board Chairman Ed Townsend, Director Pete Churchwell and Chief Executive Officer Dan Sullivan were prepared to make the offer during a meeting of the trustees on Thursday, May 12, in Vinita. Though GRDA has continuously supplied the cooperative’s wholesale electricity since 1946, Northeast trustees voted to pass on the GRDA deal before they were presented with the details.

GRDA intended to offer Northeast $8.2 million cash upon approval of the agreement to purchase the cooperative’s transmission lines, radial lines and electric substation transformers, while also agreeing to serve all of Northeast’s current delivery points. GRDA would assume responsibility for the transmission assets and make an estimated investment of $15-$20 million to upgrade the transmission system. According to Sullivan, GRDA also offered its “most competitive rate” which would have saved the cooperative approximately $700 thousand annually.

“This is a 15-year deal that would give Northeast one service provider while also giving them access to the best energy costs from the Southwest Power Pool market,” said Sullivan. “It would also give them access to our diverse generation portfolio going forward, as well as continue the synergies between our organizations that have helped boost economic development and water quality in the Grand Lake area as part of a relationship that goes back 70 years.”

Former Oklahoma State Senator Rick Littlefield, who owns a business on Grand Lake, said he was disappointed by the news.

“As a Northeast member, I am deeply disappointed that a decision of this magnitude, which could adversely impact the Grand Lake area and cooperative members, was made without giving the membership a chance to provide input first,” said Littlefield.

At the meeting, Northeast trustees did advise the GRDA group that it would entertain an offer to serve half of the cooperative’s system.  

“We’re certainly disappointed that they did not entertain what GRDA feels is a very beneficial offer for their membership,” said Townsend. “However, we do appreciate the opportunity to explore serving half of their load and we will put together an offer to do that, in hopes of continuing this partnership that has benefited both organizations, their members and the Grand Lake region since the 1940s.”