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Proposed transformer mandate would impact Butler County

U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly, R-16th, and Chris Deluzio, D-17th, sent a letter this week to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm opposing a proposed energy conservation mandate related to distribution transformers.

The letter states that the proposal’s mandated use of amorphous metal, or AM, cores instead of grain-oriented electrical steel, or GOES, cores would “significantly impact the production of distribution transformers, which are already difficult to obtain.”

“There is serious concern about the potential negative impact this proposal would have on the stability of our electrical grid,” the letter reads. “AM Cores rely on imports of raw materials; a dependency that could leave us susceptible to a variety of disruptions, from production to shipping.”

According to the letter, Butler County also houses the only U.S. facility producing GOES.

“Implementation of this proposed rule would jeopardize the Butler, Pennsylvania facility and leave the U.S. grid reliant on imports,” it read, “and potentially cost over 1,500 American jobs.”

Supply chain issues for distribution transformers have also grown significantly, according to the letter, with the current lead time for obtaining one being “more than 16 months.”

“Grid security and reliability are vital to our economic and national security,” the letter stated. “We respectfully urge you to make serious modifications that preserve utilization of GOES for transformer cores to the proposed rule and thank you for your consideration.”

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