For Immediate Release: December 11, 2020

SMUD Board of Directors approves 2021 budget

The elected SMUD Board of Directors has approved a $1.7 billion budget for 2021. The budget is almost $62 million lower than the 2020 budget, primarily due to lower commodity and capital expenditures. The budget funds all capital and operations and maintenance (O&M) programs needed to meet the Board’s Strategic Direction. To fulfill that direction, strong financial management is imperative, especially during these very challenging and uncertain economic times.

As a community-owned, not-for-profit utility, SMUD looks holistically at its budget, programs, projects and initiatives each year to deliver value to our community in a way that maximizes the benefit, while also striving to be as fair and equitable as possible for the 1.5 million people served.

SMUD considered two major new drivers in this budget: first, the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to impact the economy and SMUD’s business. Second, the Board’s 2030 Climate Emergency Declaration and SMUD’s new 2030 Clean Energy Vision. Other key drivers are safety and reliability, affordable rates, value for SMUD customers and community vitality.

The 2021 budget balances constrained resources due to flat energy sales per customer, economic uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, and the investments needed to support SMUD’s carbon reduction goals, wildfire mitigation, vegetation management and infrastructure investments with SMUD’s commitment to deliver reliable service at affordable rates while enhancing the quality of life for SMUD’s customers and community.

In developing the 2021 budget, SMUD used an enhanced risk assessment process to allocate money within the budget based on level of risk. This provided room to absorb unexpected increases in wildfire mitigation, vegetation management and low-income subsidies, among others.

The 2021 budget also enables SMUD to create a beneficial impact for the community by leveraging strategic partnerships, including SMUD’s Sustainable Communities initiative, continuing work with low-income customers, supporting the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity, (formerly the Powerhouse Science Center), and the California Mobility Center, which is a public-private innovation initiative to make Sacramento an international hub for eMobility investment.

SMUD’s O&M budget is increasing slightly due to mandatory expenditures for vegetation management and additional wildfire mitigation plans and actions. SMUD is increasing funding of low carbon pathways analysis, plus pilots, projects, and initiatives to support the acceleration of carbon reduction efforts. These include funds budgeted for electric transportation incentives, building electrification programs and other carbon reducing efforts. Electrification is a critical part of SMUD’s future and an important part of the strategy to continue to be a leader in the region’s transformation to a low-carbon future. The budget also funds customer outreach and education for these efforts.

Energy supply commodity costs make up almost half of the total O&M budget. SMUD has locked in prices for most of its expected energy requirements for 2021 to ensure cost and rate stability for customers. Only a small portion of budgeted energy purchases are exposed to short-term market price fluctuations.

SMUD's rates are among the lowest in California, and on average are almost 40 percent lower than those of neighboring PG&E (see chart below).

As the nation’s sixth-largest, community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for almost 75 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit

Comparison of California Utilities’ Average Residential Electric Bills

Monthly Average Residential Electric Bill

at 750 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month

As of October 1, 2020



Roseville Electric


Turlock Irrigation District


Modesto Irrigation District


Los Angeles Department of Water & Power


Southern California Edison




San Diego Gas & Electric