Supply shortages could lead to delays in restoring power after storms
Florida’s director of emergency management warns that new supply chain issues could lead to delays in restoring power after a major storm. The warning comes as the coast prepares for the peak of an above-average hurricane season.
The basic elements for restoring power, including transformers, are scarce. Transformers usually take three to six months to import, but the delivery date is two to six years due to supply chain issues.
“Transformers are a critical component for electrical restoration and power delivery. Some manufacturers aren’t even taking new orders for transformers because they already have such a backlog,” said Amy Zubaly, executive director of Florida Municipal Electric. Association.
FMEA represents Florida’s 33 utility communities. Utilities across the state have publicly shared their concerns about transformer shortages.
SUPPLY CHAIN PROBLEMS ARE AGGRESSING, REPORT SAYS, PUSHING INFLATION HIGHER: HOW YOUR PORTFOLIO COULD BE IMPACTED
“As we prepare for hurricane season, we are building up a supply and inventory of our electrical grade components that we need for hurricane restoration. This is separate from our normal material supplies. This supply of both hands may not be up to snuff than they normally are,” Zubaly said.
FMEA hopes power companies could manage a mild hurricane season, but warns restoring power could be a challenge if the region is hit by multiple storms.
HURRICANE LAURA LEAVES NEARLY 700K WITHOUT POWER, OFFICIALS WARN RECOVERY COULD TAKE WEEKS
“We were predicted to have above average storm numbers. We’re just entering this peak of hurricane season. So most of the storms don’t hit until August, September, October, and it’s early August and so the next three months are going to be really eye-opening, if we get hit multiple times with large-scale storms, we may be in a situation where we have to, you know, find alternate means for supplies.
Power companies warn the threat extends well beyond hurricane season. This could impact the emergency management response to severe weather events in general, including wildfires and floods.
“It’s a problem for those who are dealing with wildfires right now. Floods, if there’s been any concern that components have been damaged and need to be replaced. You know, it’s up to all levels and across the sector, across the country they are trying to address these issues,” Zubaly said.
Senator Marco Rubio introduced a bill to encourage the production of transformers on American soil. The bill includes an $8 billion loan guarantee to domestic companies to rebuild or increase the supply of power grid materials to help alleviate supply chain issues. However, FMEA warns that it will take time to fix the problem.
HURRICANE MICHAEL SETS RECORD AS MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE TO LAND IN OCTOBER
In Lynn Haven, Florida, the utter devastation caused by a hurricane is recent memory. After Hurricane Michael hit the area in 2018, power was restored within weeks. However, energy companies are now grappling with unprecedented supply chain issues.
“It was literally the worst day of their lives. October 10, 2018 is a day we will never forget. Just as 911 marked the history of the United States in the 21st century, October 10 marked the history right here in Northwest Florida,” Mayor Jesse Nelson said. . “As you can see from behind us, our city is still rebuilding City Hall, our police station, our emergency operations center. So for four years our police station operated out of trailers. Our town hall operates from trailers. we are always facing storms, we do not have the facilities we need to protect our employees.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Mayor Nelson told Fox News the shortage of transformers was concerning. Many power companies repair or refurbish used transformers to increase inventory levels.