Navajo House with Electricity Funded by CARES Law

San Juan County, Utah (AP)-Chastity Degusman and her four children have been helplessly living in Navajo Nation’s home since 2015. She is September for the crew to finally connect their home to electricity.

“It was touching,” De Guzman told KUER Radio. “Electricity is essential to us, and things have become much easier, especially with the pandemic happening.”

According to the company’s spokesman Deenise Becenti, her home in Aneth is one of 27 Utah homes that received electricity from the Navajo Tribal Public Service Department this fall.

It received $ 14.5 million from the tribal’s $ 714 million federal CARES law allocation to connect 510 homes. According to Besenti, the crew began work on the project in June after the tribe received $ 600 million in May due to legal delays. So far, she said they reached 380 units, or about 75 units a month, leaving 130 to connect before the funds run out on December 31st.

To that end, the crew works 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, according to field director CJ Carl.

“We are pushing harder,” Karl said. “They are pushing seven days a week at the expense of a lot of family time.”

Mr Becenti said utility authorities will try to find alternative funding to connect homes that cannot be reached by the deadline.

“The December 31st deadline is a major obstacle and challenge,” he said. “The longer the timeline, the more likely it is that we can connect more homes.”

All houses on the list are within a mile of the power line, according to Arash Moalemi, a utility lawyer. He said they chose those homes because of the right-of-way requirement: longer than a mile, and utility authorities had to go through a large clearance process for each connection. Probably.

Authorities also received money from the CARES Act to buy solar units for homes that are not near existing power lines. Moalemi said he received 1,200 applications for the program when he launched the program this fall, but could only buy about 400 due to supply chain issues. At least 24 units will be installed in Utah homes.

Moaremi estimates that there are about 15,000 homes without electricity in Navajo Nation.

The tribe has given utility authorities a total of $ 147 million. This said Moalemi was almost three times the company’s annual budget. The money is used to upgrade internet towers, install water tanks and wells, install WiFi hotspots, lay fibers for broadband internet, and refurbish wastewater treatment centers nationwide.

In Utah, the company has created WiFi hotspots in Aneth and the Mexican Water Chapterhouse and is working on updating all Internet towers to improve service.

According to Moalemi, these projects are in line with the guidelines of the CARES Act, as they help reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in bookings by helping people stay home.

“This is clearly a hygiene and health issue,” he said. “And if these families could get water, electricity and the internet at home, they would fight Covid directly.”

Money that the utility authorities cannot spend by the end of the year will be sent to the National Tribulation Assistance Fund in December and distributed to individual tribal members. Online applications for hardship support are accepted until the end of November.

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Navajo House with Electricity Funded by CARES Law

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