The flip of a light switch is something most of us take for granted. Yet it’s something over 100 families who reside on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona couldn’t do until recently.
SRP helps Light Up Navajo
Starting in 2019, crews from SRP, along with those from over 20 other utilities, participated in a project called “Light Up Navajo,” which is led by the American Public Power Association (APPA) and Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA). The effort continues to bring power to some of the nearly 14,000 homes beyond SRP’s service territory on the Navajo Nation that do not have electricity.
SRP donated employee time, line and mechanic service trucks, digging equipment and materials toward the project.
“Coordinating and providing electrical service to these remote customers requires months of planning and dedicated effort,” said Chris Reynoso, Director of Distribution Maintenance. “However, once the electric service is set and the house is lit up, it really humbles you when you see the faces of the individuals who receive power for the first time.”
Making a difference
During each round of the humanitarian effort, line crews work to construct miles of distribution lines and poles.
“The individuals involved are willing participants and understand the severity of the situation on the Navajo Nation,” said Reynoso. “They sacrifice their time away from their families to support this worthy cause.”
It has been a historic, life-changing experience for the volunteer SRP line workers. One volunteer said, “The little bit we do here can brighten someone’s life, literally.”
As poles are installed, participating line workers have seen the residents’ faces beam with excitement. The homeowners have expressed their plans to finally have a working refrigerator to keep food cool, use the internet to do their accounting from home and eagerly wait to put up holiday lights.
A resident and previous recipient expressed their gratitude to the line workers: “Well, I’m very grateful to them that they did this – and I hope that a lot of people that haven’t got electricity can still sign up.”