APS crews participate in Light Up Navajo, bring power to remote rural communities
PHOENIX – Today (July 10) is National Lineworker Appreciation Day. It takes teams of APS employees to keep power flowing to Arizona families and businesses, including the 390 lineworkers and nearly 60 apprentices who work on the frontlines often in challenging conditions to serve customers.
Have you ever thought about what life would be like without electricity – not just for a few minutes or hours but always? There are people in Arizona who have never had it, until now. On this day of appreciation, we highlight a special effort by lineworkers to help families on the Navajo Nation turn on the lights for the very first time.
APS lineworkers from across Arizona joined utility crews from other states in Light Up Navajo, a mutual aid initiative organized by the American Public Power Association and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. This is the third time APS has participated in the project.
"I am so thankful for those guys that came together and did a tremendous job for us and made a lot of change for a lot of people,” said Bernice Begay, a participant of the Light Up Navajo program.
About 18,000 of the approximately 48,000 homes on the Navajo Nation are without electricity, far more than any other area in the United States. These families often live without electric refrigerators, stoves or running water. Families now have the opportunity to cool their homes, run everyday appliances and charge devices with the convenience of electricity.
APS Crew Foreman Drew Sheahan called the experiencing life changing, “My family knows, my crews know, my friend knows, I’m a crier… I cried every time because [the residents] cried every time. This is something that it wasn’t weeks without power, they’ve never had it.”
APS crews worked on the Navajo Nation for two weeks digging holes, installing new distribution poles and stringing electrical wire to connect homes to the western power grid. It was rewarding work for the crews who brought electricity to 10 homes in remote locations and in areas where electrical infrastructure did not exist.
By pooling resources and bringing volunteer crews from around the country, the Light Up initiative has connected more than 780 homes on the Navajo Nation since the program began in 2019.