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Copper twined around the core of a transformer.

APPA Disappointed Transformer Production Funds Not Included in Omnibus Bill

Jan. 4, 2023
'Without the reliability ensured by a steady supply of distribution transformers, we can’t accomplish any of our energy goals'

The American Public Power Association “is beyond disappointed that funding to ramp up production of distribution transformers through the Defense Production Act” has not been included in the Dec. 19, omnibus appropriations bill, Joy Ditto, President and CEO of APPA, said.

“This is a critical issue that several industries have raised, and on which the President has called for action. Despite our collective pleas over the past year to address this issue, supplies continue to dwindle, demand far outpaces production, and if action is not taken in the near term, the U.S. will face electric reliability concerns,” she said.

T&D World published a story about tightening supply chain issues affecting the electric transformer supply. For a deep dive into that issue, read more here.

Electricity “is vital and underpins all aspects of our modern society. Without the reliability ensured by a steady supply of distribution transformers, we can’t accomplish any of our energy goals—including transitioning to cleaner energy sources or growing a strong economy,” Ditto said.

She said that APPA will continue to work “with our electric utility brethren and government partners to address this situation. We will also continue outreach to transformer manufacturers to seek their input on ways to step up to the challenge of adequately meeting the demand for these critical grid components.”

In recent comments submitted to the Department of Energy, APPA, the Edison Electric Institute, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, said that DOE should use Defense Production Act authorities to prioritize distribution transformers, large power transformers, and other critical grid components ahead of other technologies, and it should act quickly to alleviate the most acute supply chain challenge with distribution transformers.

APPA and the electric trades augmented their comments on DPA with a letter for action on Capitol Hill. The electric trades, along with building trade organizations, recently sent a joint letter to Congressional Appropriations leadership requesting funding for DPA.  

The groups requested that Congress appropriate $1 billion this year for the implementation of DPA authorities to specifically address the supply chain crisis for electric distribution transformers.

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