The flip of a light switch is something most of us take for granted. Yet it’s something over 200 families who reside on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona couldn’t do until recently.
SRP helps Light Up Navajo
In 2019, crews from SRP, along with those from 24 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 now in 2022 to bring power to some of the 14,000 homes beyond SRP’s service territory on the Navajo Nation that do not have electricity.
SRP donated employee time, line trucks, digging equipment and a mechanic service truck toward the project
The challenge our linemen usually face is restoring power to customers in metro-Phoenix — especially during storm season; however, during LUN assignments, we build completely new electrical infrastructure in remote areas of our state,” said Bret Marchese, SRP Director of Customer Construction Services. “I will never forget seeing the faces of the people who received power for the first time. It is an honor to help improve the quality of life for our neighbors to the north.”
Making a difference
During the six-week humanitarian effort, line crews constructed about 12 miles of distribution line. SRP crews set 193 poles and strung 13 miles of overhead wire. It has been a historic, life-changing experience for the volunteer SRP line workers, based out of the Tempe Service Center facility. One volunteer said, “The little bit we do here can brighten someone’s life, literally.”
“There are so many things we take for granted, like running water and power, but families we helped to energize had never had either. It is very humbling that people are living like this in northeastern Arizona — in our own backyard,” said Kory Nichols, SRP Manager of Field Maintenance. “As our crews worked, the customers really observed what it took to construct and deliver power. When we finished energizing their homes, they took the time to shake each crew member’s hand.”
As poles are installed, the residents’ faces beam with excitement. They express their plans to finally have a working refrigerator to keep food cool, using the internet to do their accounting from home, and anxiously waiting to put up Christmas lights for the holidays.
One resident 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.”
How to help
According to the APPA, 300,000 people live on the 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation, spanning across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
According to the APPA, 300,000 people live on the 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation, spanning across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Approximately 14,000 homes remain without power.