NPU supports Light Up Navajo Project

NPU linemen Will Maxeiner (left) and John Benoit (right) joined line workers from other states to participate in the Light Up Navajo project

NPU, as a member of the American Public Power Association (APPA) recently participated in the Light Up Navajo project, a combined effort between the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and the APPA to bring electricity to approximately 14,000 homes within the 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation. These homes represent 75 percent of all U.S. households that do not have power.

Linemen from NPU spent two weeks helping to close the nation’s electricity gap by hooking up households to the power grid. They were joined by line workers from nine other states and Washington, D.C.

Light Up Navajo began in 2019, and within that first year more than 230 homes were connected to the power grid.  However, plans were put on hold in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. By the start of 2022, 737 families had been connected to electricity, funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Electrifying just one household is an expensive endeavor. On average, each household requires one transformer, more than a half-mile of wire, 6-10 poles, as well as insulators and arrestors to connect to the electric grid. In addition, to get homes ready for electric service, rights-of-way, land clearances, permits, and interior wiring must be completed first.

Since the start of the project in 2019, Light Up Navajo families have been experiencing an improved quality of life, enjoying modern conveniences like refrigerated food, heating, air conditioning, and lights. Life has moved forward without kerosene lamps, candles, flashlights, ice chests, and wood or coal for cooking and heating purposes.