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Austin Energy crews help bring power to Navajo Nation families

Lineman Edward Jodie was born on the Navajo Nation and lived there for the first few years of his life.

AUSTIN, Texas — Sixteen Austin Energy crew members recently traveled nearly 2,000 miles round trip to Window Rock, Arizona, to help provide power to Navajo Nation families. For lineman Edward Jodie, it was an especially rewarding experience.

According to Austin Energy, Jodie was born on the Navajo Nation, in Fort Defiance, Arizona. He lived there until he was five, when he moved to Phoenix with his family. 

Jodie remembers visiting his grandparents on the reservation, where they had no utilities, including electricity or running water. He said his grandmother would place solar panels on the roof to charge old car batteries, which she would use to power lamps at night.

RELATED: Austin Energy crews travel to Arizona, bring power to Navajo Nation

Eventually, his grandparents received utilities – but Austin Energy said thousands of Navajo families still don’t have access to those resources. Part of the reason is the rugged terrain of the Navajo Nation, which makes it challenging for crews to install infrastructure.

Jodie said Austin Energy crews encountered some of those challenges as they installed nearly 10 miles of overhead electrical lines and 78 electrical poles.

“Like Texas, Arizona can go from flat land to mountainous terrain,” Jodie said. “It was challenging for us and our equipment, but we made a plan as a team and got the job done. It’s a great, humbling experience.”

The Austin Energy crews’ work enabled them to provide power to nine Navajo families.

“Seeing them turn on the porch light for the first time and their face just lights up, it’s a sense of accomplishment,” Jodie said. “It’s like I was meant to come back here and help my people.”

RELATED: Austin Energy crews help bring power to Navajo Nation homes

Austin Energy has been helping Navajo families turn on their lights for a few years now, as part of the Light Up Navajo Project. Austin Energy’s involvement started back in 2022 and crews returned to help twice in 2023 and will again this year.

The Light Up Navajo Project is a partnership between Austin Energy, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and the American Public Power Association (APPA).

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