Mississippi Senators, colleagues sign letter on shortages that put grid at risk ahead of storm season.

Last week, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) joined colleagues in calling on President Biden to immediately address the urgent supply chain shortages threatening the Southeast region’s electric infrastructure as storm season begins.

In addition to the Mississippi Senators, others signing the letter include: Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and U.S. Representatives David Kustoff (R-TN), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), John Rose (R-TN), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN).

“Among the many urgent supply chain shortages affecting our nation is the supply of transformers,” Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith said. “Transformers are a crucial for not only for keeping up with economic growth, but for restoring power after extreme weather.”

U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) spearheaded the bicameral letter to the President regarding the risk to infrastructure in the Southeast, citing concerns raised by local power companies in the region about the supply of transformers.

“Transformers are crucial for electricity delivery, keeping up w/ economic growth & restoring power after storms,” Hagerty said on Twitter. “I led my colleagues in a bicameral letter calling on Biden to address supply chain shortages threatening the Southeast’s electric infrastructure ahead of storm season.”

“We are writing to encourage you to take further action to address the urgent supply chain shortages threatening our region’s electric infrastructure,” the members of Congress wrote. “Beyond the current invocation of the Defense Production Act for certain energy infrastructure components, more must be done to ensure electric reliability heading into storm season.”

“Transformers are a crucial component of electricity delivery at substations and utility poles.  This equipment is important not only for keeping up with economic growth, but for restoring power after storms and other extreme weather events,” the letter continued. “In the past months, costs are skyrocketing, and lead times for some manufacturers are up to two years – while others are not taking orders at all.”

To address this urgent matter, the lawmakers asked President Biden to:

  • Direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to temporarily suspend its most recent conservation standards for transformers, which require manufacturers to use more steel than previously required.
  • Engage the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to engage with suppliers and utilities to determine whether stockpiles of transformers, particularly those that may have been purchased with federal funds, may exist that can be called upon in emergency situations.

Click here to read the full letter.