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Pandemic fallout leads to electricity delays

Posted at 9:38 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 05:19:44-04

It seems to be the same story, just another industry — the pandemic fallout causing a shortage of materials and workers.

This time it's impacting our electricity.

Karen Ryan, the spokeswoman for Lee County Electric Co-op (LCEC) said the shortage of parts and people could cause a delay when starting a new service. With all of the growth happening in Southwest Florida, new construction will be impacted most-not to mention hurricane season can also add to the delay.

"Now we are finding some lead times are taking up to a year," Ryan said.

What used to take just three months can now take up to a year or even more. LCEC serves more than 200,000 customers in Lee and parts of Collier, Hendry, Charlotte, and Broward. However, not all of those customers will be impacted by this.

"It will be all new services,” Ryan said.

If you are in the planning stages of building a new home or any kind of new construction, be ready to wait.

“People are planning for growth, businesses, builders, developer- but they also need to plan for a potential delay in service due to this supply chain challenge,” Ryan said.

Another challenge is hurricane season. Ryan said if a significant storm hits anywhere in the nation, it can have a rippling effect.

“If any storm were to hit any other area it would put pressure on our local area also - because supplies would be going to those areas to restore power,” Ryan said.

Ryan added that there are enough supplies for current customers.

Another big question is will the shortage cause a rate increase for customers? Ryan said LCEC has not done a rate increase in 13 years, but if the shortage continues they are anticipating one.

Here are some of the ways LCEC is trying to mitigate inventory shortfalls:

  • Communicate potential delays to developers, builders, governmental agencies, and customers
  • Prioritize work
  • Suspend new district lighting requests that require unavailable materials
  • Monitor inventory levels frequently and order with longer lead times in mind
  • Utilize reconditioned equipment when possible
  • Reuse equipment at idle service locations
  • Delay proactive replacement of infrastructure