Volunteer lineworkers are bringing first-time electricity to American homeowners through the Light Up Navajo project, which is managed by the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and American Public Power Association.
The humanitarian project, which launched in 2019, brings the line trade together to illuminate the 13,500 homes without electricity on the Navajo Nation. About 75% of all U.S. households without power live in this 27,000-square-mile region, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has 300,000 residents and a total of 55,000 homes.
This year, lineworkers from 26 utilities and 16 states volunteered for Light Up Navajo, including Dean Frescholz, a journeyman lineworker and section supervisor for Salt River Project. For our August 2023 Line Life Podcast episode, which is sponsored by Huskie Tools, he shares his experiences volunteering for the project and bringing first-time electricity to the homes on the Navajo Nation.
"The homeowners were very excited to have power, and it made me feel great," he says. "It felt like a humanitarian effort in our own backyard. I didn't even realize before I had volunteered to go that there were people living in the state of Arizona in 2023 who did not have electricity. That was kind of news to me. When I actually went up there and actually saw it, I was amazed."
During this year's volunteer project, he and his crews built six miles of power line, set 104 poles and strung more than 63,000 ft of wire over the course of three weeks. To listen to the episode, click on the icon below.
To learn more about the project and how you can help, visit the APPA website or the NTUA website. Also, look for a feature story in the September 2023 Lineworker Supplement and on our website on this program.
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