The Navajo Nation and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) are committed to extending utilities to the homes of Navajo Nation families to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. On August 16, the Navajo Nation (NN) announced the funding it would provide to NTUA to construct utility projects eligible under the United States CARES Act by December 28, 2020. NTUA has mobilized to complete as many projects as possible.
NTUA’s Home Interconnection Program:
NTUA has officially surpassed the original goal of connecting 510 homes to the electric grid. This is a huge achievement for NTUA electric line crews - to extend electricity to over 510 homes in a little over three months. Once the NN CARES Act legislation was passed and approved, teams went to work to build powerlines. Each week, including weekends and holidays, the NTUA crews concentrated on extending electricity to as many homes as possible -- with 510 homes being the primary goal. As of this update, the total connections by NTUA was 541 families!
As of December 16th, the actual number of Navajo homes connected was 579 which includes: NTUA - 541, Continental Divide Electric Cooperative - 22, and Jemez Mountain Electric Cooperative - 16.
NTUA’s Off-Grid Residential Solar Program
Field assessment work crews are preparing homes for a 3,000 kW solar unit placement. NTUA will be distributing 300 units, 40 units are designated for the homes of U.S. Military Veterans and 33 units are designated for NTUA’s Water Cistern Project. These solar units will only be offered to homes currently not connected to the electric grid.
Water Loading Stations/Major Water System Improvement Projects
Repairs and upgrades to 6 regional watering loading stations have been completed. Four are in Arizona (Bodaway Gap, Leupp, Lupton, Wide Ruins) and two are in New Mexico (Torreon & Lake Valley). These watering loading stations are now open for public use.
Construction has completed on 8 of the 9 new water loading stations which include 5 in AZ: Cameron, Fort Defiance, Greasewood Springs, Kinlichee, Whitecone, Chilchinbeto (AZ) and in Inscription House. Construction is completed at the Crownpoint (NM) station and the Pueblo Pintado (NM) water loading station is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 30th
NTUA has constructed 5 livestock water loading stations. Construction is complete at all of them. Three are in AZ, located in Hunters Point, Leupp, and Chinle. Two are in NM, located at Newcomb and Sheepsprings. These livestock water loading stations were planned so that residents will not haul water for livestock from potable water sources.
NTUA Installation of Free Student WI-FI Hotspots
NTUA is planning to construct four (4) additional free Student WI-FI hotspots. Thirty-nine (39) have been connected in various communities throughout the Navajo Nation, and now the number will increase to 43. The goal was to place the hotspots so that no one would have more than a 45-minute drive to access the Internet.
The initial CARES Act target was 31 locations; however, due to increased demand, NTUA and NTUA Wireless installed additional WI-FI hotspots. The latest in-service hotspots are at Bodaway/Gap (AZ), KinDa’Lichii (AZ). Two (2) sites are under construction and are planned to be in-service by December 24th. They are located in Leupp (AZ), and Oaksprings (AZ). The remaining two locations are to be determined.
DWGP continues to assist NTUA by supplying needed procurement and contract transaction support in meeting infrastructure needs to address the COVID-19 Pandemic. For more information, please contact Derek Dyson.