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Distribution transformer delays continue to interrupt new construction completions in the new year. Still ranging from 12 to 24 months—and in some cases three years—the delays are postponing move-in ready homes from being occupied, according to NAHB members.

To boost transformer production, the NAHB, along with a coalition of energy, grid, and builder associations, worked with Senate leaders to include an additional $1.2 billion to the Senate Energy and Water appropriations package.

NAHB chairman Alicia Huey says, “NAHB commends Senate leaders for working in a bipartisan manner to include $1.2 billion in supplemental funding to boost the production of sorely needed distribution transformers.”

These additional funds could improve production delays. This shortage has intensified as transformer prices have increased 85% since the first quarter of 2018, the NAHB notes.

Alex Strong, NAHB senior federal legislative director, says there is no such funding in the corresponding House package, and, if they eventually get to a funding package, the money will have to be conferenced.

Hopeful that the coalition's efforts over the course of the past year will produce results, Strong says, “That is to say many, many more Hill offices are aware of the existence and depth of the transformer shortages today than were this time last year.”

The next challenge will be Republicans’ seriousness of “tightening our fiscal belt,” Strong shares. He says that potential new or reallocated funding—like the $1.2 billion—will garner extra scrutiny.

Additional members of the coalition include the American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, The GridWise Alliance, the Leading Builders of America, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.