City of St. George to send 2 linemen to help provide electricity to homes in the Navajo Nation

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ST. GEORGE — As part of the Light Up Navajo project, two electrical workers from St. George will be among those who help bring power to households in the Navajo Nation.

Ryan Bowler and Allen Davis from the city of St. George Energy Services department will be among a crew of volunteer electrical workers headed to the Navajo Nation as part of the Light Up Navajo project May 11-18 to help bring electricity to households without power.

“We take for granted the lights coming on when we flip the switch, having a working refrigerator and having a plug to re-charge our cell phone. That has not been the case for many of the households of the Navajo Nation,” said Laurie Mangum, Energy Services director for the city of St. George. “We hope this service is a step toward electrifying all homes throughout the Navajo Nation and the entire USA.”

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, approximately 15,000 do not have electricity. This number represents about three-quarters of all unelectrified households in the U.S.

According to the American Public Power Association, “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 has launched the Light Up Navajo initiative.”

Light Up Navajo involves volunteer crews from more than 20 public power utilities throughout the country. They have begun building electric lines for projects that will connect more than 100 new customers to the grid. The various entities will be donating manpower, equipment and/or materials to help the Navajo Nation.

“To be able to contribute, in a small way, in helping bring electricity to members of the Navajo Nation is greatly fulfilling,” St. George City Manager Adam Lenhard said. “With the resources we have, the decision to partner with Light Up Navajo was easy to make.”

The public is also invited to participate in the Light Up Navajo initiative. Donations can be made at the American Public Power Association website.

In addition to the city of St. George, public power utilities from throughout Utah, Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas are participating in Light Up Navajo.

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