SRP connecting Navajo families to the power grid
April 28, 2022
The Salt River Project has been working tirelessly with a multitude of power companies to help connect 300 homes in the Navajo Nation to the power grid. Many of these families have either never had power before, or have not had enough for all their basic needs, such as running water, electricity, heats, or even lights. We spoke with Wayne Wisdom, the senior director of distribution grid services at SRP for more.
Light Up Navajo III. What are we talking about here?
Light Up Navajo III is an initiative to bring power to all the residents on Navajo Nation. “There’s about 14,000 homes on the Navajo Nation that don’t have electric service right now. So their vision back in 2019 was to solicit neighboring utility support primarily from public power utilities like SRP, to run lines and help build lines to serve the community.”
This involves volunteer crews from not just Arizona, but all over the country?
“All over the country. NTUA is a public power utility like SRP, and they leveraged their public power membership against all the other public power utilities to lobby some support to have them come and help with this initiative.”
How many families are up there without power? I think people will be surprised to know, and it’s because it’s just so vast?
“Very rural. A lot of people don’t live in city centers or close in small towns. They have been living on their own with the use of generators, kerosene lamps, whatever they have to do for generations. The initiative is really trying to build those electric facilities as close to them as possible to try to reach them.”
What are the challenges in getting that done?
“It’s remote. Once you come off the major highway there’s not a lot of paved roads. A lot of dirt roads trying to get to people who might be 5 miles off the dirt roads.” Plus challenges of rain and mud.