Navajo utility wants to build on project to electrify homes

(Jake Bacon | AP file photo) Utility workers prepare a power pole to connect a home in Kaibeto on the Navajo Nation to the electric grid in May 2019.

Window Rock, Ariz. • The Navajo Nation wants to build on a pilot project that connected more than 230 homes to the electric grid.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority worked with volunteer utility crews from 13 states on the project that wrapped up in May.

Spokeswoman Deenise Becenti says the utility now is seeking volunteers to connect more homes next spring. A planning meeting is scheduled in October.

About a third of the residents on the vast Navajo Nation don't have electricity. Many rely on kerosene lamps, generators, solar panels, candles and flashlights.

The tribal utility typically connects from 400 to 450 homes a year on the reservation that lies in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.