Beyond the Build

Commodities Pricing

Update on Electrical

A few months ago, I shared what we were seeing with electrical switchgear and the electrical slowdown that we had been facing. In summary, electrical panels were trickling in late, often missing components. Most of the time, there was only a simple note from the shipper that said something like, “This product is missing components.” This left us and other building contractors scrambling to fulfill through a lot of different sources. While the industry is still dealing with this challenge on certain projects, there now appears to be shortages of transclosure (transformers) provided by the utilities.

We are experiencing the electrical utilities scrambling to get transformers just as we are with the components in the switchgear. It’s not confirmed, but I’ve even heard of certain large institutions purchasing their own transformers and then buying the current at a wholesale rate. The utility companies are also scouring their inventories of unused transformers from buildings no longer in service. While a number of our projects have construction durations of 12-18 months, our suggestion is to advise the utility early on. We have a new project starting in Tennessee, scheduled to be completed in August 2024, and initially the utility company said they could not provide in time. There was another project canceled, and they found us a transformer. Good news in a less than ideal situation.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.