Because we live and work here too, we know that our company is only as strong as the communities we serve. That’s why have a legacy of partnerships with community, state and federal organizations to advance education and the arts, community support and environmental stewardship within the cities and towns we serve.
This summer we're donating 20 percent more electric fans than we did last year -- 1,200 total -- to help senior citizens and others in need. Our trucks are delivering fans to social service agencies in 12 communities throughout our service area in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.
Major support areas for our community partnerships include
Community Support Partnerships
Our partnerships with social service agencies provide comfort, safety and security to residents in the towns and cities we serve. Many of these partnerships center on helping our customers use energy more wisely so they achieve comfort, safety and security.
United Way -- United Way is committed to improve the health, safety, education and economic well-being of individual families in need by connecting community resources with responsive and accountable health and human services agencies. In support of the United Way’s mission, and its connections to multiple social service agencies, our employees last year contributed nearly $1.2 million to United Way through our workplace giving campaign.
Fan Donations—For the last 11 years, we’ve partnered with agencies such as the Salvation Army, Areawide Aging Agency and Community Action Agency to provide 1,000 electric fans to low-income and elderly residents in 12 communities across our service area in Oklahoma and western Arkansas. These donations help customers in need stay cool during the hot summer months.
Cool Zones – Each summer, we partner with nearly 300 local libraries, shopping centers, senior centers, churches and other locations throughout our service area to open Cool Zones, which provide heat-wary residents a respite during the hottest times of the day.
Weatherization Programs -- We offer low income customers weatherization services through our Weatherization Program In addition to that, we work with agencies that provide weatherization services, such as Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together and the Urban League, sending volunteers to do the home improvement work as well.
We partner with schools and other organizations to advance education initiatives and drive learning in the vital areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Partners in Education – Working with Partners in Education, we volunteer to help grade papers, tutor students and assist school libraries.
ScienceFest Oklahoma– Since 2002, we’ve sponsored ScienceFest Oklahoma. Each May, about 5,000 4th and 5th graders from across Oklahoma gather together for interactive learning on alternative energy and environmental conservation. In addition to financial support, we annually provide about 75 employee volunteers who keep the day organized and safe or who participate in an environmental education hands-on activity station for the visiting students.
Oklahoma Green Schools Program – We support this statewide initiative to educate Oklahoma students and teachers about environmental issues and their personal responsibilities regarding stewardship. In 2013 and again in 2014, we made a significant contribution to the newly formed 501C(3) to help further the program’s mission and to conduct a pilot with Norman Public Schools.
Our strong commitment to reduce our environmental footprint involves proactive and purposeful partnerships on environmental issues with agencies throughout our communities.
Wildlife Management and Preservation
OG&E’s 30,000 square mile service territory is rich in wildlife, and we understand that our operations interface with these inhabitants, which translates into opportunities.
American Bald Eagle Nest -- Part of our service territory is within bald eagle habitat. In 2007, a team at our Sooner Power Plant built and installed an artificial nesting platform on the plant’s Sooner Lake, near Ponca City, Okla. We joined state and private agencies to install an outdoor camera that streams live footage of the nest to Sutton Avian Research Center’s website. Millions of people from more than 62 countries have watched the eagle family which, since then, has reared approximately 29 eaglets at that site.
Lesser Prairie Chicken Protection -- One of the central plains family of grouses, the lesser prairie chicken has been on the list of species of interest to the US Fish and Wildlife for many year. Beginning in 2009, OG&E has contributed more than $8.65 million for habitat protection and has worked with state and federal agencies to commit more than 40,000 acres to lesser prairie chicken habitat conservation.
Power Line Collisions – OG&E has voluntarily taken measures to protect wildlife collisions with electrical equipment, a task that requires vigilance and innovation. The company is a member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC), and works with fellow
members to develop best practices to prevent avian collisions with power lines.
Collared Lizard Project at Sooner Lake -- Sooner Lake is home to the collared lizard which is an ongoing, 10-year project for the Department of Zoology at Oklahoma State University which is studying the ecological evolution of these lizards. The department selected Sooner because of the rocky areas around the lake (where the lizards like to “hang out”). Similar research is also being conducted in the Glass Mountains, the Wichita Mountains and at Arcadia Lake.
Invasive Species – Invasive species are non-native and adversely affect the habitats they invade. We’ve experienced operational challenges and expense from an invasive species called zebra mussels. When zebra mussels attach themselves to hard surfaces, such as power plant water intakes, they clog pipes and can create ongoing and potentially expensive mitigation needs. In response to this challenge, we began testing a biological treatment option that doesn’t harm the ecosystem like other chemical treatment options and began using the treatment in March 2012 after receiving EPA approval. We’ve since worked with other utilities on similar operational issues associated with this unwelcomed guest to Oklahoma’s lakes and waterways.
Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) – OG&E was a founding member of KOB, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, and we remain an active member today. We annually provide small grants to Oklahoma communities to help jump start their Great American Clean-Up projects. Additionally, we've won numerous awards from KOB for our sustainability efforts.
Inter-Tribal Environmental Council – We regularly sponsor the Inter-Tribal Environmental Council’s annual conference. The organization’s mission is to protect the health of Native Americans, their natural resources and the environment.
The Nature Conservancy – We’ve been a strong supporter of the Nature Conservancy, most recently supporting the restoration efforts of a one-mile stretch of one of Oklahoma’s iconic rivers, the Blue River, through the Oka’ Yanahli Preserve in Southern Oklahoma. Through these efforts, we hope to create a healthy water system along the river, serving as a template for restoration, sustainable use, education and protection.
Trees and Vegetation
Oklahoma Department of Forestry Services – Through a long-term partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, we’ve supported planting and growing trees throughout Oklahoma. Since 1998, we’ve partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Forestry Services (ODFS) to educate Oklahoma State Fair attendees annually as part of our “Right Tree, Right Place” vegetaion management educational campaign. Over the years, OG&E and ODFS have distributed over 183,000 loblolly pine seedlings at the Oklahoma State Fair.
Progeny Propagation Facility – OG&E is a major supporter of the Progeny Propagation Facility, a greenhouse in southeast Oklahoma dedicated to growing seedlings for educational purposes and species improvement. Since the facility opened in 2002, the company has supported its operations.
Support of art and culture is vital for the growth of our states, and we offer support to numerous arts organizations, both large and small.
Allied Arts – Every year, we conduct an employee giving campaign through Allied Arts, an organization that provides vital resources to leading arts organizations in central Oklahoma. Last year, we raised $XX in support of this organization.
deadCenter Film Festival – OG&E has been a strong supporter of the deadCenter Film Festival. This annual festival in Oklahoma City draws close to 30,000 attendees to our state and provides a statewide education program that reaches more than 3,000 students each fall.
Sports Partnerships—Going Green
Sports programs are big in our communities, and sporting events make a big impact on our states’ economies.
University Programs – We provide support to the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University through our Power Play of the Game. In addition, we’ve worked with both these universities to establish a renewable energy program, with each university having its own dedicated wind farm. Our efforts have resulted in national recognition for both universities for their environmental sustainability efforts.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Our support of the OG&E Thunderbolt provides a fan experience designed to reach communities throughout the state and region. The ThunderBolt offers fans attending local festivals, neighborhood events, school celebrations and more an opportunity to engage in an interactive, Thunder-themed display. We’ve also worked with the Thunder to become the first team in the NBA to commit to offset 100 percent of its electricity consumption with renewable wind power.
Amateur Softball Association – We’re proud to have naming rights to the stadium field, OGE Energy Field at the ASA Hall of Fame Softball Complex. Through our work with the ASA, he ASA/USA Softball Hall of Fame Museum and four-field complex is the first premier softball venue and predominately women’s athletic venue in the country to earn the EPA Green Power Partnership with their commitment to offset 100 percent of its electricity consumption with renewable wind power from OG&E.
Boathouse District – OG&E was a pioneer in corporate rowing since the inception of the Boathouse district in 2005. We not only provide gold medal winning teams to rowing events each year, we also sponsor the popular OG&E NightSprints, where rowers can compete at night – under the lights.