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Published on June 19, 2024
Light Up Navajo Project Set to Connect 200 Homes to Electricity with National Utility AidSource: Unsplash/American Public Power Association

In an initiative that aims to tackle the stark utility deficits faced by the Navajo Nation, the Light Up Navajo Project enters its fifth phase, moving to connect more families to the comfort and necessity of electricity. As reported by Public Power, this year will see 42 electric utility companies from across 16 states converge in a collaborative effort, starting from April 7 through July 20, 2024. Their mission: to electrify at least 200 Navajo homes.

The extensive operation will call upon the skills of over 250 electric line workers converging on the Navajo Nation, while in just this week, crews from the Salt River Project in Phoenix and the Grand River Dam Authority from Oklahoma have projects underway in several tribal communities. These endeavors not only bring forth the basic amenities of lighting and heating, but pave the way for subsequent utility services, including water and broadband, as stated by NTUA General Manager Walter Haase to Public Power, "With electricity the families can also prepare for water and broadband services." These efforts reflect a continuity of the project's annual goals, building on the success of last year's initiative that connected 159 homes with electric power.

Delving deeper into the narratives shaped by the project's impact, ABC15 highlights personal stories from the Navajo Nation—like that of the Trevinos from Birdsprings, who are just a step away from electrifying their hogan. "I built it by myself," said Ken Trevino in conversation with ABC15, indicating the preparedness of his home for the electric connection that is soon to illuminate his family's life.

According to Deenise Becenti with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, while speaking with ABC15, the undertaking is more than just the provision of energy—it's a gesture of equitability, a measure of empowerment, "When we have the benefits the rest of America is enjoying, that makes life so much easier." It's in these very homes and hearts where the true impact of Light Up Navajo reverberates, threading communities together, highlighting disparities, and, forging a path toward a more evenly electrified horizon.