Home Builders Solicit Congressional Help on Transformer Shortage

Industry News,

Originally Published by: NAHB — April 4, 2023
SBCA appreciates your input; please email us if you have any comments or corrections to this article.

At NAHB’s urging, a bipartisan group of 64 House lawmakers have sent a letter to Sec. Jennifer Granholm urging the Department of Energy (DOE) to withdraw its proposed rule to regulate energy conservation standards for distribution transformers.

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 more than 16 months to produce and deploy new transformers.

The letter stated that “prolonged lead times and the lack of availability have made it difficult for utilities to provide transformers to home builders, city planners, and economic developers to get power to end users in new development areas.”

Lawmakers emphasized that demand for transformers was far outstripping supply before DOE issued its proposed rule and that this regulation would only make a bad situation worse.

“A new efficiency regulation that completely overhauls the manufacturing process will further exacerbate the significant delays in delivering distribution transformers,” the House letter stated. “Until the industry receives the regulatory certainty it needs, the production backlog will only worsen.”

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 lawmakers to seek additional congressional funding aimed solely at boosting production of distribution transformers to meet market demand.