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Some on the Navajo Nation live without power. Utility companies are sending crews to change that

Currently, over 14,000 Navajo Nation members don’t have home access to electricity, and utility companies, including Arizona’s Salt River Project, are working to change that.

Companies from 10 states will be sending crews to construct utility poles and power lines on the Navajo Nation beginning Monday, for an 11-week project called “Light Up Navajo 3.”

Deenise Becenti is with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.

“For a lot of the line workers that are visiting from different parts of the United States here to the Navajo Nation, that understanding of the importance of their jobs became quite clear,” said Becenti.

The first event, 2019’s Light Up Navajo, connected over 200 families. Although 2020’s effort was canceled due to the pandemic, the Nation was able to connect over 700 families using CARES act funding.

“We are grateful, as a utility, that we have sister utilities who understand the need, and how much of a positive change of life this will be for our families,” said Becenti.

Becenti says families living without power often buy ice every day and store food in coolers, and some use headlamps to do things around the house after the sun goes down.

Vaughan Jones is the weekend reporter for KJZZ, and a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, with a minor in music. As a Phoenix native, Jones’s dream is to serve his community by covering important stories in the metropolitan area.He spent two years as music director at Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. His passion for radio stems from joining Blaze his freshman year as a DJ.When he is not working, Jones can be found writing music with his band, playing video games with his friends, or watching his favorite Phoenix-area sports teams.