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USA transformer shortage: California faces energy crisis

USA, California: California is facing a new energy crisis, and this time, it could impact the state’s goal of building more than 2 million new homes by 2030.

The transformer shortage Transformers Magazine has already written about continues, affecting new homeowners in California.

As new homes are built in California, there’s more need for transformers that provide power to neighborhoods, but right now, they’re in short supply. “What we’re actually seeing is anywhere from two to three years to get a transformer,” said Dan Beans, the CEO of Roseville Electric. Beans said he can only get a fraction of the transformers his growing city needs. “We had ordered 500 transformers during 2022 and we had received 18 of them,” he added.

Now, utilities are warning developers that they may not be able to provide power to new homes and businesses. “We did meet with the building industry association and said we might run out in the next month or two,” Beans said.

“It was an inconvenience at first, but then it became a real problem,” said Chris Ochoa with the California Building Industry Association. Ochoa said some people who purchase a newly built home have to wait and temporarily live in hotels for 30-45 days.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office report shows the transformer shortage is a nationwide problem that could cause large-scale power outages, especially following a disaster. The report says there’s just one company in the U.S. that makes the steel needed to build transformers, and it recommends federal energy officials address the shortage. “They’ve identified the problem. They even have some solutions, but they just write papers, talk about it and don’t do anything,” Beans said.

The problem is expected to get worse as energy efficiency standards are increased. “We’re going to need 2-3 times as many transformers as we go to all-electric new constructions,” Ochoa said. Now there’s concern this latest energy crisis will hurt California’s economy and trigger blackouts.

“People aren’t going to invest in a state if you have unreliable power,” Beans said. Roseville Electric is adding more than 100 new customers each month, and they are now trying to purchase new transformers from overseas to keep up with demand.

Source: CBS News Sacramento