As storm season approaches, Republican members of Congress are calling on President Joe Biden to address the Southeast’s electronic infrastructure supply chain issues.
In a Tuesday letter to the president, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) and 11 of his GOP colleagues echo concerns expressed by power companies in the region.
Among the concerns is the supply of transformers and the raw materials used to make them.
“Transformers are a crucial component of electricity delivery at substations and utility poles,” the Republicans wrote. “This equipment is important not only for keeping up with economic growth, but for restoring power after storms and other extreme weather events. 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.”
The letter’s authors also called on Biden to “direct the Department of Energy to temporarily suspend its most recent conservation standards for transformers, which require manufacturers to use more steel than previously required.”
Additionally, the members requested the president “engage the Federal Emergency Management Agency 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.”
Tuesday’s letter outlines similar concerns conveyed by members of Alabama’s congressional delegation in a July 14 letter, led by U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.
U.S. Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mo.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), along with seven U.S. representatives, joined Tuberville in the letter to Biden.