The Stillwater Utilities Authority Monday will consider approving a letter of intent with the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority. The letter means that Stillwater would buy its electricity from the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority when its current contract with the Grand River Dam Authority expires in September 2012.
The OMPA is a state agency created in 1981 that sells wholesale power to cities such as Edmond, Perry, Yale and Ponca City. The OMPA owns stakes in eight power plants including the Kaw Hydroelectric plant and a coal-fired plant, the latter of which is also responsible for generating power for the GRDA. The OMPA also purchases electricity from wind turbines.
The contract with the GRDA will automatically renew if neither side does anything. However, to change or get out of the contract requires a one-year notification by either party. Additionally, the city would have to get approval from organizations that own the power lines that transmit electricity from where it is generated to Stillwater. While much of the electricity used by Stillwater would travel over the same lines, Stillwater Utilities Authority Director Dan Blankenship said that process can take months.
Blankenship said that while the Utilities Authority is primarily considering the switch because of the OMPA’s pricing structure, another benefit is that the five largest cities who have been customers for three years receive a permanent seat on the Board of Directors.