Helping Power our Neighbors

Apr 17, 2023

A new path for power … GRDA linemen install distribution poles to bring electricity to a home on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. A crew of 10 GRDA employees were there in early April, taking part in Light Up Navajo IV, a mutual aid effort coordinated by the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and the American Public Power Association.

On March 31, a team of ten Grand River Dam Authority employees, including electric linemen and fleet maintenance personnel left Oklahoma, headed west to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and Utah. The team was part of a larger, mutual aid effort among public power utilities called the “Light Up Navajo Project.”

Upon arrival in the Monument Valley area, this crew went to work, helping to bring electricity to homes that have never had it before. It was the second time in four years that GRDA has been part of this important program. GRDA crews also took part in the initial effort in the spring of 2019.

According to the American Public Power Association (APPA), that first Light Up Navajo effort “brought together volunteer crews from public power utilities across the country to connect Navajo homes to the grid. In six weeks, the volunteer crews connected more than 230 homes to electricity, reducing the total number of U.S. homes without electricity by one percent.

While GRDA’s involvement has been similar to its mutual aid efforts in other parts of the country, where storm damage led to mass power outages, the trip was a
“non-storm” mutual aid event. Power distribution was not rebuilt following storm damage, rather it was built for the first time.

The ability to pump fresh water, preserve food, heat and cool homes and utilize many other basic electricity functions was not previously available to some areas of the Navajo Reservation. We are proud that GRDA and other public power partners have been working to change that for our neighbors.