The News-Record

Grand River Dam Authority officials say an error within a program designed to compile monthly operation reports has led to flawed reporting of data.

GRDA assistant general manager Robert W. Sullivan advised the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the reporting error in a written response to allegations that the authority that oversees the Pensacola Dam has willfully violated the mandates of its operational license by releasing water when the reservoir was below target elevation.

Sullivan said recorded data regarding inflow, draw and storage at the Pensacola Dam “should be discounted.

The authority's license to operate the Pensacola Dam requires GRDA to maintain target lake levels and cites date-specific elevations to be achieved throughout the calendar year.

Jeff McCool, a Miami resident, issued a plea to federal officials to enforce the license requirements which he said GRDA has “repeatedly violated.

McCool supported his claims with a history of hourly data obtained through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which indicates that water was released periodically through the Pensacola Dam on six days between Oct. 19 and Oct. 25.

On each of the days noted, the reservoir was below the target elevation.

In Sullivan's response to FERC, he cites multiple reasons for release activity during the months of August, September, October and November - none of which brought the project to production capacity.

“It should be noted that the project, during this period of the year, produces a nominal 110 megawatts, Sullivan wrote.

At full capacity, the project produces 2,640 megawatt hours in a 24-hour period, according to Sullivan.

Sullivan did not deny the release of water, but justified releases for the following reasons:

Loss of schedule - The Pensacola project was used to meet the demands of the electric system as GRDA prepares for the replacement of purchased power or a modification of the authority's coal-fired capacity could be achieved.

Regulation - The authority placed one or more generating units online and allowed a governor to regulate the loading of the units to meet the needs of the electric distribution center.

Seeding - The lake was dropped in August for the planting of Japanese millet per the terms of the operational license.

Testing - The lake level was dropped in September for deployment test mandated by the Southwest Power Pool of GRDA's installed hydroelectric generation.

Hudson Lake -Water was discharged through the Pensacola Dam in order to maintain the minimum elevation of 618 feet at Hudson Lake.

The City of Tulsa utilizes water from Hudson Lake and GRDA officials say that it is essential that the minimum Hudson elevation be maintained in order to “safely utilize a pumped storage project near Hudson Lake.

On the six days questioned by McCool, GRDA generated between 6 and 146 megawatts of electricity.

Sullivan also said outages at the authority's coal-fired plant and low water inflow necessitated the need to utilize the Pensacola project.

“GRDA has used the Pensacola Project sparingly and has attempted to maintain the lake level, Sullivan said. “It serves no purpose for Mr. McCool to take a snapshot of the operation of this project and allege that GRDA is willfully violating the terms of the license His request to FERC to enforce the license requirements are an attempt to place your organization in charge of Mother Nature.

Questions regarding the error were posed to GRDA late Thursday by the News-Record and are expected to be answered today.

Sullivan was not specific in his letter as to how long GRDA's data has been flawed or if there will be any measures taken to make retroactive corrections to the data.

The U.S. Army Corpse of Engineers confirmed today that the data listed at the Internet location of www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil/webdata/gagedata in reference to the Pensacola Dam is provided by GRDA.

Ross Atkins, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public affairs officer, said the Corps is not responsible for collecting data nor is it concerned about the accuracy of data until Grand Lake - or any lake within its system - enters into flood stage.