Power for Progress: Ready to Respond
Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority
Ready to Respond
With over 1,200 miles of high-voltage lines and hundreds of electrical substations in the state, the Grand River Dam Authority certainly has a lot of infrastructure to maintain. And while it has been proven time and again that no system can be completely protected from weather extremes, GRDA has ongoing efforts to help prepare for those times. Those efforts continue year-round.
The GRDA Vegetation Management Department clears 500 miles of GRDA rights-of-way along power lines each year, beginning as soon as the weather permits in the spring and continuing through the busy summer growing season. The work is critical to GRDA’s overall mission because a well-maintained ROW not only cuts down on the possibility of outages due to brush and limbs that could fall in high winds or ice storms, or fuel wildfires, but it also allows for greater accessibility for GRDA’s power line maintenance crews when they must respond to storm damage. All the work done by the department is guided by regulations set forth by agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
Inside GRDA’s Energy Control Center, NERC-certified system operators keep a real-time eye on every point of the entire energy delivery system. That is possible because of GRDA’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system and other equipment dedicated to gathering information. Often, if damage does occur, system operators can reroute electricity deliveries around those areas. When those redundancies exist, it allows for quicker restoration of power to the customer or sometimes, no real power interruption at all.
Of course, experienced personnel are vital to protecting or restoring the system during weather troubles. At GRDA, every phase of the process – from engineering, planning and design to electricity delivery – is governed by the NERC standards for reliable electric service. GRDA’s goal is not only to meet those standards, but also to maintain its reputation for reliability.
Weather extremes will always be a reality, but ongoing maintenance efforts, state-of-the-art systems and experienced, dedicated personnel stand ready to respond.
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.