People who live in some of the remotest areas of the country have electricity for the first time ever.
Sixty-three homes in the LeChee community of the Navajo Nation, located just south of Page, Arizona, either have already been or will soon be given electricity as part of an ongoing project to bring power to the area. According to the AP, an estimated 15,000 homes in Navajo Nation don't have electricity. Some prefer it this way, while others live so far away from power stations or each other that it would be "too expensive" to connect them to the grid. Expensive or not, it is shameful that there are still people in this country who want electricity and don't have it.
Thanks to the LeChee Electrification Project, $4.8 million will be used to build miles of power lines and wire homes. Seventeen homes got electricity in October 2012 and 25 more got it this week. The final 21 homes will be on the grid by the end of next year.
Even though LeChee is located right next to a power station, the station is not allowed to supply power to Navajo Nation -- that can only be done through the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. Families had been getting by using kerosene or gas lamps, solar panels, generators and buying ice to keep food cold. They have televisions and even cell phones, but it isn't easy or reliable to power them.
"My husband parks the truck right up here close so we use the power inverter just to watch TV," Laverne Etsitty told Native News Online. "Yes, it costs gas. The truck has to run."
Margie Tso has lived in LeChee with her husband since 1954. The couple are in their 80s now, and Margie told the AP she is "looking forward to reading more." Her husband is looking forward to using several appliances at the same time. And while they now have electricity, they still don't have running water -- nor do 40 percent of homes in Navajo Nation.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.