To deliver affordable and reliable electricity…

Jul 28, 2021

A powerful part of the process… GRDA substation components shine in the summer sun. Team GRDA works round-the-clock, 24/7/365 to keep reliable electricity flowing from the generator to the substation and all along the transmission lines to meet the needs of its customers.

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

One of the interesting things about electricity is that it is the only real-time commodity bought and sold on the market. In most all cases, it is consumed as it is generated. Because of that, there is a delicate balancing act of supply and demand always taking place, behind-the-scenes, round-the-clock.

Back in 2003, there was a major electric blackout which stretched across parts of the Northeast, Midwest and Canada and affected nearly 55 million people. It began when electric transmission lines in rural Ohio came into contact with overgrown trees during a time of very high demands for electricity (mid-August). Unfortunately, the trouble soon cascaded across other bulk power systems in eight states and Ontario. Soon after, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 empowered the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) with the authority to set standards for the national electric grid and to enforce compliance with those standards.

At the Grand River Dam Authority, compliance is at the center of daily operations. GRDA’s system operators undergo 70 to 80 hours of training each year to insure they meet NERC standards. Meanwhile, they continue to be the constant eyes and controls over GRDA’s significant portion of the national electric power grid.

In terms of the bigger picture, GRDA is part of the Eastern Interconnect, one of the two major alternating current (AC) power grids in North America. The Eastern Connection reaches from Central Canada eastward to the Atlantic Coast (excluding Quebec), south to Florida and back west to the foot of the Rockies (excluding most of Texas).

Truly, GRDA and the rest of the nation’s electric utilities are tied together to deliver a real-time commodity to customers, 24/7. In fact, that is the very beginning of the GRDA mission: “to deliver affordable and reliable electricity” to our customers.

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