Oct 12, 2023
Texas homebuyers can't move into their home due to transformer shortage
by: Sarah Al-Shaikh Posted: Aug 5, 2023 / 08:00 AM CDT Updated: Aug 5, 2023 / 07:48 AM CDT KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — Imagine building a new home only to be told you can’t move into it because you don’t
by: Sarah Al-Shaikh
Posted: Aug 5, 2023 / 08:00 AM CDT
Updated: Aug 5, 2023 / 07:48 AM CDT
KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — Imagine building a new home only to be told you can’t move into it because you don’t have power.
That’s a situation housing experts said people in Central Texas and across the country are in.
The reason? An ongoing transformer shortage.
Belinda Johnson and her husband John are ready to move into their “forever home” in Kyle.
Right now, they are living in an RV in Wimberley. The two are building their new home to accommodate some of their health needs.
“The doorways we widened so that we can have wheelchair access,” Belinda said.
But, because of a transformer shortage, they have no idea when they’ll be able to move in.
“We don’t have a timeline,” Belinda said. “Is it going to be a week from now? Is it going to be two weeks from now? Is it going to be a year from now?”
It’s a situation that’s left them frustrated and anxious.
“You’re just stuck in limbo,” she said. “We’re building a house, that’s supposed to be our last house, but we don’t know when we’re going to move into it.”
Belinda said they can only wait for so long because her husband needs back and ankle surgery due to an injury while in the military.
“Neither one of those surgeries could take place until he’s in a situation where we have no stairs to climb,” she said.
So, they’re left hoping a transformer comes soon enough.
“The not knowing is the most difficult part of it,” Belinda said. “We can’t even go to the surgery calendar until we have a date for moving into our home.”
The Johnsons aren’t the only ones dealing with this.
Real estate expert Jaymes Willoughby said this is a new issue felt across the country, but especially in Texas.
“The problems are more here because of the amount of new homes that we’re building at this juncture,” Willoughby said.
He expected this shortage to continue for the next couple of years. Willoughby said homes sitting unclosed could cost builders thousands of dollars per month.
It’s an issue he said could make the housing shortage worse.
“We’re gonna start losing builders,” Willoughby said. “They built it, but they can’t close it, then they’re gonna go belly up.”
Willoughby said this shortage has to do with supply chain issues, higher demand and a new energy code from the U.S. Department of Energy that calls for upgraded transformers to be built.
As a result of the delays, MileStone Community Builders, the developers for the Johnsons’ home, said it’s suing the Pedernales Electric Cooperative.
MileStone claimed it secured the transformers but PEC won’t install them.
“We understand the challenges associated with the transformer shortage, however, the PEC’s lack of communication and action has been unacceptable, leaving homebuyers throughout the area in limbo. Furthermore, many other agencies are managing through it far better. We believe this urgent situation must be addressed with better coordination, with leadership and responsiveness from PEC.”
In a statement sent to KXAN, PEC said it is “actively addressing global supply chain issues that are impacting the entire industry.”
It wouldn’t comment further due to the pending litigation.
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