70-mph winds cause extensive damage and outages in Sacramento region
Dozens of crews work to restore power
The Sacramento region was hit by heavy rains and 70 mph-winds by the latest storm that ripped through Northern California overnight. Storm damage knocked out power to more than 345,000 SMUD customers at its height around 2 AM. As of 3:45 PM, approximately 60,000 customers remain without power.
The most recent storm was the worst storm in more than 30 years, eclipsing last week’s New Year’s Eve storm. So far, SMUD has identified more than 80 downed power poles and dozens of downed trees impacting utility equipment. These numbers will grow significantly as assessments are completed.
SMUD line crews, troubleshooters and other field personnel will work 24/7 to restore power to customers if it’s safe to work. Crews made steady progress throughout the day Sunday to assess damage, make repairs and restore power. Thanks to partnerships with other local utilities and contract crews, SMUD has nearly doubled the typical number of crews in the field working to restore power from 16 to 30. Additional mutual aid crews are incoming, which will bring total crew count to approximately 40 on Monday.
Due to extensive damage, many customers will experience lengthy outages that last overnight, and many will last well into the coming week. SMUD is contacting customers we expect to be out of power overnight directly so they can make arrangements.
When storms knock out power, SMUD works around-the-clock to restore electric service as safely and as quickly as possible, but restoration efforts can be slowed when winds are too high for crews to safely work, or access is limited or not possible due to floods.
SMUD prioritizes where crews will be sent during a storm:
- Public safety hazards (power lines down, poles down)
- Hospitals and critical flood control pumps
- Areas with large numbers of customers out of power
- Scattered, smaller outages
Safety is a top priority and SMUD is providing tips for customers to stay safe.
If the power goes out...
- Check to see if the lights are out in neighboring homes — if so, it’s likely a larger outage.
- Report the outage at smud.org/outages or on our App.
- If you are the only one without power, visit smud.org/storms for instructions on safely checking/resetting your main breaker.
If stormy weather knocks down a power line…
- Stay away and call SMUD at 1-888-456-SMUD (7683) or 911 immediately.
- Assume the line is “energized” and stay away and warn others to do the same.
- Do not remove fallen tree limbs or other debris from power lines. Tree limbs and other objects can conduct electricity that can shock anyone coming in contact with them.
SMUD urges people to check on family, friends and neighbors who may experience outages. For those experiencing prolonged outages, SMUD is working with its customers on an individual basis to provide for specific needs during the storms. In case of extended outages or for those with medical needs, SMUD urges customers to have a back-up plan for accommodations if needed.
While homes can get cold without power, SMUD warns customers not to heat homes with propane heaters, grills, hibachis or BBQs. They produce carbon monoxide, a clear, odorless gas that can be fatal to humans and animals.