The Grand River Dam Authority is essential to Google's Viability
While our state budget is strapped for cash, The state-owned electric company sells Google electricity at rates way below the rates our Corporation Commission sets for PSO and OG&E. That's essentially a subsidy!
Oklahomans are ignorantly creating 'Big Brother', right here in our own state.
Google operates a mega data server installation near Pryor Creek, OK. The nearby Grand River Dam Authority sells electricity at rates which economists rate as the lowest cost electricity in the world. Google may be the largest single customer of GRDA. We identified at least 3 electric substations adjacent to or within the Google installation. It may be the single biggest operating expense that Google needs on a daily basis.
If the GRDA ceased providing electricity to Google's Pryor facility, it could shut down a significant portion of the Global capacity of internet services for websites and social media.
Why should Google get lower prices from our state-owned power plants, than most of us get? GRDA is supposedly a state-owned power company, started in the 1930s to control flooding in eastern Oklahoma. The power company was an afterthought, to defray some costs of maintaining the project. GRDA now has multiple power plants and pays no taxes at all. It allows GRDA to undercut the competition.
- Why does a flood control agency operate a wind farm on the other side of the state?
- Why are Oklahoma's corporate citizens having to compete against the govt. in the electric services?
- Is the GRDA out of control and unaccountable?
GRDA's Mission Creep
GRDA is a state-owned power company, started in the 1930s to control flooding in eastern Oklahoma. the power company was an afterthought, to defray some costs of maintaining the flood control project. GRDA now has multiple power plants and pays no taxes at all. It allows GRDA to undercut the competition. Why does a flood control agency operate a wind farm in Western Oklahoma? Why does GRDA have it's own law enforcement and why do they have police powers in 24 counties? Does PSO or ONG have cops? Is GRDA a separate government? Who are they accountable to? Last summer the GRDA police were issuing citations to boaters on Grand Lake for congregating in groups of 10 or more, even though no such law existed at the time. They just made up the 'law'.
The GRDA board members enjoy lifetime appointment terms. Some members have been bankers, land developers, or other areas of potential conflicts of interest. GRDA gives away money to music festivals and other questionable endeavors. Like this event in Claremore.
Should the GRDA be required to sell at market rates so that the state budget could be endowed with the benefits of the investments our taxpayers made 86 years ago, when the GRDA was created to alleviate massive flooding in the watershed? Or will our legislature & Corporation Commission continue to turn a blind eye while GRDA continues their predatory marketing to undercut taxpaying corporations like PSO, OG&E, and other utilities? Should Google be allowed to discriminate against political speech and exile conservatives from much of the internet services, as a way of suppressing political foes and undermining our free society?
The 'ball' is clearly in the legislature's court. GRDA has become the poster child for 'mission creep'. the Legislature looked the other way, or worse! When our own govt. creates a corporate power company to compete against our own businesses, that's a predatory act. When the GRDA is exempt from taxation, but their corporate competition is not, a clear corruption is in full bloom. When that corrupted agency expands far beyond their charter mandate, the watchdogs of govt were clearly either asleep, or bribed. When abusive global monopolies become the prime beneficiaries of the rigged system, then leverage that advantage to exploit, abuse, and discriminate against the people of Oklahoma (and the rest of the world's conservative & liberty-loving people, a major reform is a matter of our survival. We have a duty to make the reforms.
The Google 'footprint' in Oklahoma, in a 2019 aerial image.
Google was recruited to Oklahoma with the help of what is known as the manufacturing ad valorem exemption. It’s a state-sponsored business incentive, approved by Oklahoma voters in 1985, that exempts certain types of business investment from property taxes for five years.
During that time, the business pays taxes on the original value of the property, and state taxpayers pick up the tab for what the business would have paid on the additional value of the new or expanded capacity.
These payments are made to local governments — primarily school districts and county government — through what is known as the ad valorem reimbursement fund.
From the time Google opened its first data center in Pryor in 2011, the local school district’s total assessed property valuation grew to $325.6 million in 2015, an increase of 168 percent, the Tulsa World reported in May. Over that same span, Mayes County’s assessed property valuation ballooned to $498.4 million, a rise of 82 percent.