Supply chain issues could delay power restoration during major hurricane

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Supply chain issues could delay power restoration during major hurricane

Florida's Emergency Management Director warns that new supply chain issues could lead to delays in power restoration after a major storm. The coast prepares for the peak of an above average hurricane season.

The basic essentials to restore power, including transformers, are in short supply. The delivery date is two to six years from now because of supply chain issues. Transformers typically take three to six months to import, but the delivery date is two to six years from now.

Transformers are an important part of electric restoration and electric delivery. Amy Zubaly, Executive Director for the Florida Municipal Electric Association, said some manufacturers are not even taking new orders for transformers because they already have such a backlog.

FMEA represents Florida's 33 public power communities. Utilities across the state have publicly shared concerns about transformer shortages.

REPORT SAYS, As we prepare for hurricane season, we build up a supply and a stock of our electric grade components that we need for hurricane restoration. It is separate from our normal operating supplies of materials. Zubaly said that supply on both hands may not be up to the extent that it normally is.

FMEA is hopeful power companies could manage a light hurricane season, but warns power restoration may be a challenge if the region is slammed with multiple storms.

We were predicted to have an above average number of storms. We're about to get into the peak of the hurricane season. Most storms don't hit until August, September, October, and it's beginning of August, so the next three months are going to be really telling. If we're hit repeatedly by large scale storms, we may be in a situation where we need to find alternative means for the supplies. Power companies warn that the threat extends far beyond the hurricane season. This could affect the emergency management response to severe weather in general, including wildfires and flooding.

It is an issue for those who are facing wildfires right now. If there's been concerns that components have been damaged and need to be replaced. It's across the board and across the country that they're trying to solve these issues, Zubaly said.

Senator Marco Rubio introduced a bill to encourage the production of transformers on U.S. soil. The bill includes an $8 billion loan guarantee for domestic companies to increase the supply of electric grid materials to help alleviate supply chain concerns. FMEA warns that this will take time to resolve the issue.

In Lynn Haven, Florida, there has been a lot of devastation from a hurricane. In 2018, after Hurricane Michael slammed the region, power was restored in a matter of weeks. Energy companies are struggling with a lack of supply chain issues.

It was literally the worst day of their life. October 10th, 2018 is a day that we will never forget. Just like 911 has marked the U.S. history in the 21st century, October 10 marked history right here in Northwest Florida, Mayor Jesse Nelson said. Our city is still rebuilding our city hall, our police station, our emergency operations center. For four years, our police station has operated from trailers. Our city hall is operating from trailers. We don't have the facilities that we need to keep our employees protected because we're still dealing with storms. The transformer shortage is something that Nelson told Fox News. Many power companies are repairing or refurbishing used transformers to boost inventory levels.