DOE Says It Does Not Plan To Issue Waiver Tied To Transformers At This Time

August 16, 2022

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
August 16, 2022

In a recent letter to the American Public Power Association (APPA) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), a Department of Energy (DOE) official said that DOE is “not planning to issue an industry-wide waiver of enforcement with respect to energy conservation standards for distribution transformers at this time.”

The letter from Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE, responded to a request made in May by APPA and NRECA. The groups asked for DOE to institute a temporary waiver of DOE’s distribution transformer efficiency standard in an effort to alleviate the acute shortage of distribution transformers.

DOE recognizes “that supply chain impacts will vary by company, by product, and possibly even by model,” wrote Speakes-Backman. “In exercising enforcement discretion, we take into account the full range of these circumstances and their potential impacts.”

She also acknowledged APPA’s participation in the “Tiger Team” formed under the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to further identify and address supply chain problems.

APPA continues to work through the ESCC and other forums to find solutions to alleviate the supply chain shortages, specifically with regards to distribution transformers. APPA has taken a number of actions to address ongoing supply chain challenges. APPA recently rolled out an additional feature to its eReliability Tracker that is available to all public power utilities and allows for voluntary equipment sharing by matching systems with the same distribution voltages. APPA also recently finalized a new supply chain issue brief. APPA members can download the issue brief here.

In a speech in June at APPA’s National Conference in Nashville, Tenn., APPA President and CEO Joy Ditto urged member utilities to share their supply chain challenges with APPA so that the trade group can relay details on these challenges to federal partners and discuss how critical burdens on the sector can be alleviated.

In May, APPA convened a supply chain summit that included participation from public power utility officials who discussed their supply chain challenges and mitigation strategies.