Each year, during the first full week in October, the Grand River Dam Authority joins with the nation’s 2,200 other publicly-owned electric utilities to celebrate National Public Power Week.
It is a time to highlight the many benefits of public power while also celebrating its productive history and exciting future across the country.
Today, public power is found in 49 states (everywhere except Hawaii) and roughly 48 million Americans --including the citizens of GRDA’s public power partner communities right here in Oklahoma – receive their power from a not-for-profit, publicly-owned utility system.
Of course, public power systems come in many shapes and sizes. In fact, one of the greatest benefits of public power is that is controlled by the customer-owners, thus, by design, it matches local resources to meet local needs. While many systems are large (Los Angeles, San Antonio and Orlando are all public power communities) other systems are much smaller, like the 15 municipally-owned systems served by GRDA.
Public power is not a new idea. According to publicpower.org, “locally-owned public power utilities first appeared more than 100 years ago when communities created electric utilities to provide light and power to their citizens.
Throughout the end of the 1800’s and the first decades of the 1900’s, the number of utilities grew rapidly. And while many utilities were sold to larger interests during the 20th century, thousands of communities chose to preserve this valuable asset and the local control it provides.”
In all these municipal systems, both large and small, the process works the same: communities own and operate their own electric distribution system and revenues from the sale of electricity help to fund other city services. Parks, streets, police and fire protection can all benefit financially from the locally-owned electric utility.
In fact, every GRDA public power community in Oklahoma, no matter the size, contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars (some even more) to their respective city general funds.
In other words, public power is not just about not-for-profit, reliable electricity service, it’s also about quality of life. And it’s all done without utilizing tax dollars.
As the nation’s 20th largest publicly-owned electric utility (in terms of electric generation), GRDA is proud to be a part of the public power process and proud to share its many benefits that positively impact thousands of Oklahomans through reliable electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, efficient operations and quality of life.
Headquartered in Vinita, Grand River Dam Authority is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. GRDA’s power touches 75 of 77 counties in the state. GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. For more information, persons interested may visit www.grda.com, or http://bit.ly/grda-grandlake.