NAVAJO NATION (KRQE) – PNM is helping bring power to families on the Navajo Nation. A PNM line crew recently traveled to the greater Shiprock area, volunteering on the “Light Up Navajo” project.

The project is a nationwide utility collaboration project that works to bring power to homes on The Navajo Nation. PNM says more than 14,000 Navajo families do not have electricity. The Navajo Nation, American Public Power Association and Navajo Tribal Utility Authority launched the project in 2019.

This year’s 11-week initiative worked to connect 300 homes on the Navajo Nation to the grid for the first time. Five linemen represented PNM and worked alongside NTUA crews and other volunteer utility lineman. The crews worked to construct and install new power poles and run distribution lines to energize these home that have never had electricity.

“This is my second time volunteering for the Light Up Navajo project. We work long days to set distribution poles, sometimes running four to five miles and then run service lines to homes, working side-by-side with other volunteer crews. It’s gratifying work to turn on electricity to a home for the first time and seeing the reaction of families full of – smiles and tears of joy,” said Milnor Branch, PNM Crew Foreman

PNM says the average cost to connect one family to power grid is about $40,000. Nearly 7,000 homes have been connected to the power grid since the project first launched in 2019.