Austin Energy crew helps power Navajo Nation
Austin Energy personnel in May went way off the grid — all the way to Arizona to help light up homes in the Navajo Nation.
Driving the news: An eight-person crew from the city-owned utility headed to Kayenta, Arizona — about 1,000 miles away — to construct an eight-pole line extension to bring power to families without it.
Why it matters: No electricity limits access to running water, reliable lighting and modern forms of heating and cooling.
- Some families in Navajo Nation have to drive 1.5 hours weekly to reach watering points and use portable coolers to preserve food, utility officials say.
What they're saying: "The work was very touching and emotional and I'm glad we were able to make a difference in their lives," Daniel Bouvier, an Austin Energy lineworker, said.
The project was a partnership with the nonprofit Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and the American Public Power Association.
Flashback: Last year, witnessing homeowners receive electricity for the first time from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin Parrish told the Navajo Times that her grandparents and great-grandmother still lived without electricity.
- When homes finally get this basic necessity, it's "a step into 2021," she said.
- "But it also makes us realize where we stand on a global scale. I hope this is a testimony to our people's patience, perseverance and resilience."
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