Over the course of three weeks, SRP line crews brought electricity to 10 homes on the Navajo Nation as part of the Light Up Navajo (LUN) project.
SRP crews built nearly six miles of power lines that involved setting 104 poles and stringing over 63,000 feet of wire. The crews accomplished this despite sandy terrain that required a bulldozer to pull large line trucks with trailers and to help string line for about 40 of the poles.
“Last year, we energized a couple of homes in one day. This time, we actually spent two to three days building longer lines – digging holes, setting poles, pulling wire and hanging transformers all to energize one single customer,” said Dean Frescholtz, Lines Supervisor and two-year participant in LUN. “It was amazing how long you’d have to build the line to pick up that one single customer and then standing at that homestead, not even seeing the next home in need.”
SRP dedicated a total of fourteen employees to assist on the project, joining line workers from 26 utilities and 15 states to bring power to people who have lived without it.
“The folks here are extremely grateful for what we are doing. You come here, people come out and shake your hand. It’s humbling and gratifying to bring these folks electricity for the first time.,” said JD Munoz, SRP Working Foreman. “To provide power to someone who has never had it is a good feeling. This is my first time working on Light Up Navajo and it won’t be my last.”
This is the third year SRP has participated in LUN, donating employee time, line trucks, digging equipment and a mechanic service truck. This important project will continue through the end of June with the goal of bringing power to over 200 homes.
“After hearing about the struggles of people who live without power, I feel blessed to be able to come here and provide that service,” said Frescholtz.
Light up Navajo is a humanitarian aid project that began in 2019 to provide power to homes on the Navajo Nation without electricity. The initiative is a partnership between the America Public Power Association (APPA) and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA.)
According to APPA, 300,000 people reside on the 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Of the 55,000 homes located there, which is roughly the size of West Virginia, approximately 13,500 homes still do not have electricity. They represent 75 percent of all U.S. households that do not have power.