The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, in partnership with the American Public Power Association, recently hosted a virtual planning meeting for the 2024 Light Up Navajo V mutual aid initiative.
There were 56 utility representatives from throughout the United States who took part in the virtual meeting.
Close to half of the utilities represented participated in the 2023 Light Up Navajo mutual aid initiative to help connect 159 Navajo homes to the electric grid for the first time.
Scott Corwin, APPA’s President and CEO also participated in the virtual meeting. He said that APPA is proud to have partnered with NTUA on the Light Up Navajo project since its inception in 2019 and said that APPA will continue to support the Light Up Navajo initiative.
Corwin also thanked NTUA General Manager Walter Haase and his team for their steadfast commitment to their customers, which Corwin said is manifested through this program.
Corwin also thanked the utilities and utility personnel who have supported this initiative over the years.
Virtual meeting participants viewed a Voices from the Field video featuring volunteer line workers who talked about their experience.
“It’s been an eye-opening emotional kind of experience to turn the meter on for the first time,” said Landry Birch, an Austin Energy line worker. “To see the customer’s smile has been very rewarding for me.”
Navajo families also shared their reactions to getting electricity for the first time.
“Standing at the front door and seeing the electric coming was very emotional,” said Joni Scott, who explained that she was grateful to receive electricity to help her and her children.
Visiting line workers were also thankful for an opportunity where they felt their jobs made a huge and incredible difference. They witnessed and heard the importance of their jobs from a different perspective.
“This is a deeply meaningful, life changing initiative,” said Haase. It fulfills the dreams “and answers the prayers of families who had been waiting years for electric power.”
“We are grateful that our sister utilities send their line workers to help us provide families with the basic modern life essential utility which makes possible lighting, heating, air conditioning, and refrigerated food,” Haase said. “We know the daily burdens will be erased once power reaches the home. This is public power helping public power at its very best.”