Powerful competition

Oct 20, 2022

Teamwork … Electric linemen from public power utilities across Oklahoma competing in the 2022 Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo, in Edmond, in late September.

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

Electric line workers from Oklahoma public power communities (municipally owned electric utilities) across the state came together in Edmond late last month for competition, comradery and, most importantly, safety’s sake. They also came to rodeo … sort of.

It was the annual Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma (MESO) Lineworkers Rodeo and an opportunity for these public power professionals to put their skills to the test in the form of competition. They climb poles, splice damaged lines, change fuses, conduct simulated “hurt man” rescue operations and work together with other crews from other communities. And really, it is that last thing – working together – that makes such events so important for Oklahoma public power electricity customers.

Of course, public power utilities are owned by the customers they serve, allowing for local control, not-for-profit rates and local resources that match local needs. However, when Oklahoma weather gets ugly – tornados, ice storms, flooding – those small local systems can be hit hard and, often, that means the job of rebuilding, replacement and repairs is accomplished with the help of other public power crews in the state.

In fact, one very important event at the rodeo is always the “mutual aid” exercise which requires teams, made of up lineworkers from different utilities, to cooperate on an effort to repair a downed distribution line. It is a timed event, with winners being recognized, but the real goals are cooperation, relationship-building and working together safely.

Each year, GRDA sends participants who compete and others who serve as judges and event coordinators. We are proud to participate in this important gathering of the lineworkers who help keep the power flowing across the state.

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.