GRDA’s 2021 in Review: Part 1

Jan 04, 2022

Remembering Uri … An icy, frozen Lake Hudson was one of the results of Winter Storm Uri, which rolled across much of the country in mid-February 2021. As we look back on GRDA’s 2021, the storm was a notable moment in the first quarter of the year.

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

For the Grand River Dam Authority, the year 2021 was partly defined by a slow return to normal following much of the pandemic-related activity of 2020. Now, as we begin 2022, we wanted to take some time in this space over the next few weeks to look back on 2021, at the challenges, the opportunities and the efforts of Team GRDA to meet its mission.

We begin here with a few first quarter highlights:

As 2021 began, GRDA remained focused on providing essential and critical services, despite the COVID-19 pandemic carried over from 2020. In January and February, it held in-house vaccination clinics for Team GRDA members who chose to be vaccinated, while other protocols remained in place to help keep the workforce safe so our essential employees could continue to meet critical needs.

In February, meeting those critical needs was stressed during the extreme winter weather brought by Winter Storm Uri. The storm’s historic cold temperatures, which lingered on for several days, contributed to much congestion on the electric power grid, weather-related outages, low fuel supplies and extreme high demands for power. GRDA, like all other utilities in the Southwest Power Pool, participated in temporary service interruptions to protect the integrity of the greater power grid and ensure a difficult situation did not become worse. Immediately after Uri, GRDA began to focus on ways to mitigate the storm’s financial impact on customers. Over the following months, with customer input, GRDA developed that cost recovery plan, which has now been implemented.

Also in February, GRDA’s ongoing support of workforce development was illustrated when it donated a surplus bucket truck to the electric linemen training program at Northeast Tech. The donation was just in time for the program’s first students to utilize as they prepared for careers in the electric industry. Those students would complete the program later in the year.

In March, the 21st annual Big Meat Run event returned to the Pensacola Dam area, once again bringing thousands of off-road enthusiasts. Ahead of the event, to help accommodate the extra traffic, GRDA completed construction on a new access road to connect Highway 28 to Beach Road, which is the main entrance to the off-road area below the dam. Then, as the month ended, GRDA and its municipal customer community of Pryor, reached 70 years of continuous public power partnership. GRDA has been supplying Pryor with wholesale electricity since March 31, 1951.

Next week, a look at GRDA’s Spring 2021…

GRDA is Oklahoma’s largest public power 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.