John Maclaga, Assistant Director for Wilson Energy, recently participated in a roundtable led by members of the bipartisan Supply Chain Caucus.
Invited by U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C., to represent North Carolina public power, John joined key stakeholders from various industries to discuss the state of the supply chain and provide recommendations to help alleviate supply chain constraints.
John, who also represents the American Public Power Association (APPA) on the Electric Sector Coordinating Committee Supply Chain Tiger Team, said supply chain constraints threaten grid reliability and security and stifle economic development. They also jeopardize the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s goals of reducing carbon emissions by getting more renewables, electric vehicles, battery storage systems, and more energy efficient buildings online.
“The reliability and security of the electric grid is at stake if we don’t take action to address the supply chain crisis we’re seeing today,” John said. “Lead times and prices for transformers, utility poles, bucket trucks, and other critical equipment have increased exponentially since the start of the pandemic, with lead times for trucks, for example, jumping from 12 to 60 months and prices increasing four-to-five fold.”
He said the federal government should support developing more robust supply chains and onshoring manufacturing of critical infrastructure components.
He recommended three ways Congress and regulators can help:
- Encourage the DOE to stop the proposed rule on transformer efficiency standards.
- Appropriate $1 billion through the Defense Production Act to increase all forms of distribution and substation transformer manufacturing in the U.S.
- Direct FEMA to invest in a national stockpile of distribution transformers when/if demand for distribution transformers falls below 2019 levels.
“Finding ways to alleviate the supply chain crisis is a priority for ElectriCities and for public power,” said ElectriCities CEO Roy Jones. “When ElectriCities board members and I met with Rep. Rouzer’s staff during APPA’s Legislative Rally in March, it was clear that it’s a priority for him too. We thank him for inviting us to participate in the conversation, and we thank the caucus members for working to address this critical issue.”
While in Washington, John also met with Rep. Don Davis, D-N.C., and a staff member for Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., to enlighten them on the impact supply chain constraints are having on public power communities in North Carolina.
“I appreciate the opportunity to provide an electric utility perspective and offer Congress long-term solutions as we do our very best to keep the lights on for families and businesses.” John said.