Building Update and Supply Chain Concerns
The weather is turning colder, and the end of the year will be quickly upon us. Christmas decorations are already up, and I am sure to hear Perry Como singing Jingle Bells on a store intercom any day now.
As the year starts coming to a close, I would like to give some updates on our major project going on at Union County Electric Cooperative. We have been in construction of our new facility located one mile south of Elk Point on 477th Ave. As of today, the building is up and fully enclosed. The interior walls have been framed, and all rock and concrete are complete. So far, things have gone surprisingly smooth. Our hope is to be in the new facility in early 2023, but much of that will depend on if we have any delays with the finishing touches. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve likely seen periodic updates on the progress.
The new facility will address the priorities that Management and the Board of Directors identified several years ago, which include improving access, safety, storage, and efficiency. This facility will be a significant upgrade that will serve our employees and members well for years to come.
While we have been fortunate not to run into any significant delays due to supply chain issues with the building, that is not necessarily the case when it comes to our electrical equipment. Many of the raw materials to build transformers, wire, and other components of the equipment that we utilize are produced using commodities such as copper, aluminum and steel. We rely on our vendors being able to access these commodities from a global supply market to produce the equipment we need. When you pair a limited global supply, with an increased demand for the commodity, you are sure to see increased costs and longer lead times. Unfortunately, that is the situation that we are currently experiencing.
Over the past few years, we have seen lead times and the cost of materials and equipment increase dramatically. For a simple job, the cost for material alone has doubled since 2019. On bigger, more complex jobs, the cost difference is even greater. Depending on the type of equipment we need, lead times that were once 2 or 3 months are now 3 or 4 years. For us, that means we need to plan ahead. We have shifted our strategy to keeping more material on hand rather than relying on our vendors to delivery products when we need it.
However, to continue meeting our members expectation in this tight supply market, we need your help. If you are planning a project, we encourage you to contact our office ahead of time, so we are able to plan accordingly. This will help in our long-range planning and hopefully avoid any delays to your projects.
Until next month, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, stay safe and God bless.
Quote of the Month: “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much” – Estonian Proverb