Small and Medium Commercial Connections Winter 2017
Winter storm tips for your business
For over 70 years, SMUD, your community-owned and not-for-for profit electric service, has delivered on its promise to provide reliable power. When outages occur, crews work around the clock to restore service as quickly as possible. In the event of a power outage at your business, here’s what you can do.
If a power line is down, call 911 immediately or SMUD and 1-888-456-SMUD (7683). Fallen power lines can cause serious injury or even death to anyone close by, so stay away. Always assume the line is “energized” and warn others of the danger. Don’t attempt to remove debris or tree limbs from a power line because they can conduct electricity that can shock anyone coming into contact with them.
1) Be prepared
Know where your service panel is, and how to operate the main circuit breaker. With a business continuity plan and a basic emergency kit containing water, a first aid kit, flashlight, portable cell charger and extra batteries, you’ll be one step ahead of the storm.
2) Get outage information
3) Try your main breaker
You might be able to restore power by resetting the main breaker in your building’s service panel or circuit breaker box. For apartment or commercial buildings, try contacting the building manager or maintenance personnel for assistance.
At the main circuit breaker, check to see if the breaker switch has flipped to the “off” or “trip” position. If it has, qualified personnel should attempt to reset the breaker by firmly pressing all breakers to the “off” position starting with the small sub breaker first. Then turn “off” the large, main breaker. Firmly press each breaker back to the “on” position starting with the main breaker. If the breaker doesn’t reset, it’s time to call a licensed electrician.
4) Wait for SMUD to respond
During severe storms, our crews are hard at work restoring power outages based on these priorities:
- Public safety hazard (power lines/poles down)
- Hospitals, critical flood and sewage control pumps
- Large area outages
- Scattered, smaller outages
A SMUD employee will arrive at an outage source to identify the problem and make minor repairs to restore electric service if possible. If the problem is a tree or branch tangled in a power line, a tree crew will respond to remove it. If there’s substantial equipment damage like downed power lines or utility poles, line workers or service crews will make the necessary repairs.
5) Use a generator safely
Some businesses decide to use a backup generator during an outage, and it’s important to use it in an approved manner to reduce the danger to you, SMUD employees and your equipment and generator. Portable generators must stand alone and only be connected to the electrical device they are supplying.
Do not connect generators directly to the internal wiring of your business unless a licensed electrician has installed an approved switch (approved by city or county building inspectors) to prevent backfeed of electricity to SMUD’s system. The reverse flow of electricity into SMUD’s system poses a severe electrocution risk to our employees because the backfeed is converted into high-voltage electricity by our transformers and may energize a part of our system that should not have high voltage present. If an employee touches this equipment, they can be severely injured or killed. If your generator is connected directly to SMUD’s system and is operating when utility power is restored, the results could cause catastrophic damage to equipment, generator or internal wiring.
Never run a generator indoors—the exhaust fumes can be deadly, and use caution while refueling because gasoline vapors are heavier than air and will quickly seek the nearest source of ignition resulting in an explosion and/or fire.
Do use a generator to serve essential power needs by either plugging an electric device into a generator with an approved extension cord or tying into your electrical system with a UL 1008 certified automatic or manual transfer switch. The switch will ensure your load is disconnected from SMUD’s distribution system before the generator is used to restore power.
Use grounded extension cords only that are properly rated for your load and group fault interrupters to reduce the risk of electrocution.
Starting January 1, 2018, SMUD's rates will increase by an average of 1% for all non-residential customers. Read more about this and other changes approved by SMUD's Board in 2017 on our website.
Free energy workshops
We are Northern California’s premier source for energy education and technology information. Don’t miss our upcoming workshops on topics like commercial food service and how to do business with SMUD. Classes are free and registration is easy!
Sharing how SMUD Cares
SMUD Cares is our way of showing what's in our hearts. Our employees are passionate about supporting the causes we care about and it shows. Each year, SMUD employees give back in a big way, helping to make our community better, brighter, stronger.
Learn more at 70 Years Bright.
Make your way to My Account
Online at smud.org/MyAccount you can view your energy bill and usage, and use free energy analysis tools for your business.
To set up your business account, be sure to use the last 4 digits of the business tax ID to create your User ID. Once you’re logged in, you’ll have instant access to many tools and resources that’ll help you get the most from your SMUD service. You can view your bill and get energy usage comparisons, sing up for programs and services, submit rebate applications, get energy tips and answers to frequently asked questions, view outage information and even start/strop or transfer energy service.