A transformer shortage is not exactly what you might have thought of when you decided to buy a vacant lot and build your home.
Who would have guessed only a few years ago that we would see a transformer shortage nationwide that would hinder building new homes? Here’s news from the Clallam County utility company in this area:
“Customers may not be aware that the electric utility industry is facing unprecedented multi-year nationwide supply chain issues with a wide variety of electric distribution equipment, most significantly distribution transformers. Large orders for pad-mounted transformers placed more than a year ago and originally quoted with an 9-month lead time continue to have their delivery dates pushed further out. We are awaiting large orders of transformers with original delivery scheduled in January and March, but with delivery now thrice postponed until at least July. We have no confidence we will receive these transformers in the near future. Recently quoted transformers are priced three to four times the quotes received last year and lead times are 14-18 months, with no guarantee of meeting quoted price or delivery.
The PUD fully understands this transformer shortage is having a very detrimental impact on the local construction and building industry, as well as the economy more generally. For more than a year we have taken every action available to us to mitigate the transformer shortage, but we are now completely out of such pad-mounted transformers with no prospect of a timely remedy. Ifpermitted by jurisdiction and authorized by a requesting customer, we do offer to install a pole and overhead transformer at locations originally intended for pad-mounted transformers. But at some point we expect to exhaust even our current supply of overhead transformers.
What this means is that under the current circumstances we are no longer accepting requests or payments for construction associated with new service that requires new pad-mounted transformer(s). The PUD will provide budgetary estimates for future work, but will not accept payments for such work to proceed until we are reasonably confident to have the transformer(s) available to complete the work. We are sorry to convey such unfortunate news, but want our customers to be fully aware of the situation, and will provide updates as more information becomes available.”
And this news comes from an adjacent county, Jefferson County:
“You’ve heard it on the news, and it’s no different for the PUD. Many essential items are either out of stock, delayed months to a year, and/or drastically increased in price. Right now there is an industrywide shortage of electric distribution transformers. Every utility is dealing with it. What it means for Jefferson PUD is there may be delays in installing transformers for residential service. As of January 1, the PUD’s backstock of residential transformers is all but depleted. Staff is working to re-purpose unused transformers in the field where possible. Orders have been placed for new transformers, with March being the soonest delivery date offered. Prices for the transformers have quadrupled. Staff is reviewing construction rates with the BOC.”
I hope this transformer shortage does not delay your plans to build, but now you’ll need to do some planning in advance as to whether to buy a vacant lot and build a home, or to buy and existing home. Or wait.
Clearly this is a conversation you’ll want to have with your builder. Not to be a stickler, but if my building contractor said something like, “Oh, that’s not a problem. We’ll build your home, and the transformer thing is not going to delay us,” I would gingerly say, “Can I can that in writing?” Let’s face it, you don’t want to sign a builder’s contract, give the builder a large down payment or release a payment from your construction loan, only to find out that everything is on hold . . . indefinitely.
If you have some experience with the transformer shortage, let us know what your experience is by leaving a comment here.
Last Updated on August 9, 2022 by Chuck Marunde
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