Supply chain challenges affecting your co-op

Posted on Aug 02 2022 in Kankakee Valley REMC
Kankakee Valley REMC CEO Scott Sears

Kankakee Valley REMC is committed to providing safe, reliable, affordable electricity to our rural communities. Unfortunately, we are facing a challenge that could threaten our commitment to reliability.  

As you may remember, supply chain challenges started two years ago during the height of the pandemic, initially affecting many household products. Those challenges are now affecting the electric utility industry.

For many years, electric cooperatives have had equipment and supplies readily available to them from their vendors. But in these unprecedented times, cooperatives are facing inventory shortages, supply chain disruptions and extended lead times. The longer lead times on essential supplies and equipment threaten our ability to perform routine services like extending new services to member-consumers. 

Critical equipment like three-phase transformers, previously delivered in 10-12 weeks, now gets to us in 12 months. Manufacturers for pole-mounted transformers are declining new orders due to backlogs. Pad mount transformers now have a delivery time three times longer than in past years. Not only that, those pad mount transformers cost 50 percent more.  

So, how are we handling these supply challenges? 

Warned early of potential supply issues, we implemented strategies — like increasing our material purchases and refurbishing transformers instead of buying new ones — to hedge the shortages. In addition, we banded together with other cooperatives, pledging to share materials should a crisis develop. 

As your cooperative, it is important to us that we meet your electrical needs in a reasonable timeframe.  If you are planning a project that will require a new electric service or a change to your existing service, please contact us.  We can then provide you with a timeline for your project based on the equipment delivery schedules.  

The supply chain situation affects us all. We’ll keep you updated on how your co-op is navigating these challenging times.