Stillwater News Press

August 3, 2013

Stillwater Utility Authority will consider contract with Grand River

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Grand River Dam Authority will pay the Stillwater Utility Authority more than $1 million a year to maintain electricity generation capabilities, according to a 29-year contract the Authority board will consider at Monday’s meeting at the Municipal Building, 723 S. Lewis St.

The meeting will be held in conjunction with the City Council meeting that starts at 5:30 p.m.

Stillwater has purchased electricity from the Grand River Dam Authority since 1987. The original contract ran 15 years and was extended for 10 more. In 2007, all GRDA municipal customers formed a group and negotiated a uniform wholesale electricity contract. It was signed by all customers except the Stillwater Utilities Authority, which is the second largest municipally owned electric utility in Oklahoma.

Stillwater Utility officials explored the prospect of upgrading or replacing its electricity generation facility in spring 2012. A study was commissioned. The study, completed in January, indicated the SUA would benefit from building a new 50-plus megawatt power generation station to replace the existing steam generation units at the Boomer Lake station, according to a report prepared by SUA G&T Division Manager Loren Smith.  

In the proposed contract, the GRDA will purchase all power and energy generated by Stillwater Utilities. The GRDA payment will be made in two forms — a capacity payment and an energy payment. The SUA essentially will be paid approximately $100,000 a month just because it has the capabilities to produce electricity. The GRDA also will pay the SUA for any electricity produced, according to the report.

The GRDA’s energy payment could total $4.5 million annually if a 56-megawatt high efficiency power generation facility is built.

The municipal utility’s existing generation facility has a capacity of 35 megawatts — 27 megawatts from gas-fired steam units plus 42 megawatt diesel fire units, according to the report.

The new generation facility would be more efficient than the circa-1950s vintage steam units and small diesel units.

The report says the proposed contract doesn’t require any additional funding or budget amendments.

The contract requires the Stillwater utility to purchase all electricity from the GRDA, whose rates are governed by Oklahoma law.