As supply chain issues continue to delay the undergrounding of residential power lines, a proposed rate hike meant to shorten the project timeline will not go into effect.
The decision was made official when City Commission, during its June 22 meeting, approved a recommendation to eliminate a planned rate increase of $0.009/kWh. The recommendation had been made during a June 9 work session between the Utilities Advisory Board and Winter Park commissioners.
The increase, which had been proposed to facilitate a faster schedule for the undergrounding project, was meant to begin in April but was previously deferred for a period of 90 days. Since then, labor shortages and increasing supply costs have extended the project timeframe.
“Even if we had extra money, the materials are backordered and may take up to a year to obtain,” said Commissioner Sheila DeCiccio in a prepared statement.
As of May 31, undergrounding is 72% complete with 35.7 miles of overhead lines remaining.
According to the city, shipping delays and the demand for supplies throughout the construction industry have caused materials prices to increase as much as 154%. A 100 KVA transformer that averaged $2,282 in 2019 now costs $5,808.
The current supply stock will allow the project to remain on schedule through 2023 but completion is not expected until 2026, and may stretch to 2030.