SAN ANTONIO – A tropical weather system moving into South Texas has Texans checking their supplies of bottled water, fuel, food, and other necessities. But officials with CPS Energy worry the hurricane season could worsen an existing shortage of utility poles.
In July, the city-owned utility was already short 800 of the wooden poles it needed. As with the continuing shortage of transformers needed to bring power to homes, the lack of poles is slowing real estate development.
Whether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or wildfires, getting poles to areas being rebuilt after natural disasters takes priority. With severe weather more common recently, more poles are being directed to such areas.
Delivery time for poles has increased from one or two weeks to as many as 14. Some pole deliveries are quoted as far as 30 weeks out. In 2021, a utility pole cost about $650. In July, the price was $1,100 to $1,800.