At NAHB’s urging, a bipartisan group of 47 Senate lawmakers has sent a letter to Sec. Jennifer Granholm urging the Department of Energy (DOE) not to move forward on its proposed rule to regulate energy conservation standards for distribution transformers because it will exacerbate an already acute supply chain shortage.
Senators said that between 2020 and 2022, average lead times to procure distribution transformers went from eight to 12 weeks to up to three years.
“This multi-fold increase is directly impacting the electric power industry’s grid modernization and reliability efforts, … posing challenges for communities that need to rebuild as well as new development,” the Senate letter stated. “We are committed to working with you to identify short and long-term solutions to the supply chain shortage of these critical grid components.”
At a time when the home building industry is facing a severe shortage of electrical transformers, the proposed rule would dictate that manufacturers increase the efficiency of distribution transformers by a mere tenth of a percentage point. In order to achieve this nominal increase in efficiency, the proposed rule would require manufacturers to transition to a different type of steel that would add months to a lengthy order cycle that already takes a minimum of 18 months to two years to produce and deploy new transformers.
House lawmakers have also registered their concerns with DOE over this proposal and this issue will be at the forefront when hundreds of residential construction industry workers trek to Capitol Hill on June 7 for NAHB’s Legislative Conference.
NAHB has also sent comments to DOE stating how this proposed rule will not only exacerbate the current nationwide shortage of electrical transformers, but also fuel delays in home construction projects across the country as well as aggravating the nation’s housing affordability crisis.
NAHB continues to work with House and Senate lawmakers to seek additional congressional funding aimed solely at boosting production of distribution transformers to ease shortages that are delaying home construction projects across the nation as well as aggravating the nation’s housing affordability crisis.