Manager of Customer Service
Remember the shortages of toilet paper and hand soap in 2020? Our country’s supply chain is still having problems. Purchasing material has become an adventure.
Like you, Dawson PPD is doing our best to work through the situation. According to Jerry Hobelman, Dawson PPD Manager of Purchasing, Facilities and Fleet, the goal is to keep enough material in stock to cover our needs and keep three construction crews busy. He says that some items are being reserved in case we need them to restore power after a storm. New construction may be delayed as we wait for deliveries.
“Coping with market interruptions is tough and getting tougher,” Hobelman explained. “We’re ordering through multiple vendors and buying items made by other manufacturers. Inventory levels are higher than normal to compensate for longer lead times.”
Let’s talk about the delays Dawson PPD is experiencing.
According to Hobelman, orders for wire used in power lines were generally filled within 14 to 16 weeks in 2020. In 2021, we were told to expect to wait 52 weeks or more. While not ideal, the wire shortages will affect mostly new construction and planned upgrades. If storms knock lines down, we make repairs and re-use the existing conductor.
Two years ago, an order for wood crossarms would be delivered approximately one week later. In November 2021, vendors were saying the wait would be 10-12 weeks.
Hobelman added that substation transformers, which help deliver power to hundreds of customers, take a long time to manufacture and ship. In 2020, it would be about 49 weeks between the order and delivery dates. In 2021, that lead time extended to 66 weeks. We’re expecting it to stretch even longer for any orders made in 2022.
In addition to delays, the cost of materials has risen. Basic economics tell us that when supply is short and demand is high, prices will climb. An example of this is conductor wire pricing. One type of wire was $0.58/foot in 2020, which increased to $1.25/foot by the end of 2021. Hobelman says that Dawson PPD is quoted prices when ordering, but vendors caution that we will be invoiced at the current cost when the wire ships.
While these shortages certainly are challenging, Dawson PPD personnel are working together. We’re using our existing inventory wisely. Our budget and finances are important. We have good relationships with multiple vendors. The bottom line is that our commitment to customers remains the same: to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity.
Testing wooden poles helps the District ensure reliability and long life of its equipment, saving customers money in the long run.
RSVP for Dawson PPD’s Customer Meeting on September 14, 2022. The event will begin at 1:00 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. Supper is provided. The meeting will take place at Dawson PPD’s headquarters (75191 Rd 433, Lexington).
Load control possible August 14, 2022