Community

Light Up the Navajo Nation

 

Map of the Navajo Nation with image of lineworkers on a pole

About Light Up Navajo

The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American territory in the United States, with an estimated population of 300,000. Among the 55,000 homes located on the 27,000 square mile reservation, about 15,000 do not have electricity. They make up 75% of all unelectrified households in the United States.

Not having access to electricity has many repercussions for Navajo families. One of the harshest being lack of access to running water. Families in the Navajo Nation drive 1-1.5 hours once or twice a week to reach watering points where they can fill 250-gallon plastic tanks with water for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Not having electricity has also deprived families of reliable lighting and appliances such as refrigerators, toasters, and microwaves. To keep food from perishing, families often have to use portable coolers filled with ice to preserve their food for a few days.

The high cost of connecting isolated rural households to the grid, the sensitivity of families to utility costs, and the limited availability of government loans has made progress towards greater electrification slow. To expedite electrification projects in the Navajo Nation, the American Public Power Association in partnership with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) has launched the Light Up Navajo initiative.

The Light Up Navajo initiative is a pilot effort to begin electrifying the 15,000 Navajo households that still do not have power. This spring, volunteer crews from over 20 public power utilities across the country will be building electric lines for 15 projects that will connect over a hundred new customers to the grid. The hope is that the pilot effort will serve as a successful model for future electrification projects.

To help spread the word, you can print this flyer about the effort.

Donations

We’re seeking donations to help provide or cover the cost of the materials to connect these families to electricity for the first time. 

Learn more about ways you can contribute on the initiative's donation page.

Volunteer Schedule

Over 100 volunteers from 22 utilities have registered to be part of the Light Up Navajo pilot initiative. Below are the utilities that will be traveling to Navajo Nation this spring. 

Week 1: April 6 -13

Rochelle Municipal Utilities (IL)
Grand River Dam Authority (OK)
Heber Light & Power (UT)
Littleton Light Department (MA)

Week 2: April 13-20

Rochelle Municipal Utilities (IL)
Farmington Electric Utility System (NM)
Piqua Power System (OH)
DEMEC: Town of Smyrna + City of Milford (DE)
West Boylston Municipal Light Plant (MA)
Littleton Light Department (MA)

Week 3: April 20-27

City of Wadsworth (OH)
Farmington Electric Utility System (NM)
West Boylston Municipal Light Plant (MA)
Painesville Electric Department (OH)
Sterling Municipal Light Department (MA)
Littleton Light Department (MA)
City of Scottsburg (IN)
Lawrenceburg Municipal Utilities (IN)

Week 4: April 27 - May 4

Salt River Project (AZ)
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (CA)
Greenville Electric Utility System (TX)
West Boylston Municipal Light Plant (MA)
Sterling Municipal Light Department (MA)
Paxton Municipal Light Department (MA)

Week 5: May 4-11

Salt River Project (AZ)
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (CA)
Conway Corporation (AR)
Piqua Power System (OH)
Sterling Municipal Light Department (MA)

Week 6: May 11-18

Salt River Project (AZ)
Murray City Power (UT)
City of St George (UT)
City of Santa Clara (UT)
Washington City Power (UT)
Lehi City Power (UT)
Sterling Municipal Light Department (MA)

Planning Meeting

The Light Up the Navajo Nation Planning Meeting took place on the Navajo Nation from September 10-11, 2018. Representatives from nearly two dozen utilities and joint-action agencies engaged in a two-day conversation around project logistics, required resources, and travel plans for the upcoming spring projects.

Below is a list of resources that were shared at the planning meeting. We encourage you to download and share the resources with your colleagues and leadership. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.