Smart planning pays off
The hard work and smart moves of 1950s paid off. By 1961, we had lowered our rates three times and our customers enjoyed some of the lowest rates and most reliable service in the country.
By the mid-1960s, agriculture was no longer the Sacramento Valley's biggest business. New "space age" companies such as electronics and defense companies were moving in, changing the face of the city.
The Port of Sacramento began handling ocean-going vessels, a major regional airport took shape in the rice fields west of town, and a peach orchard near the American River was transformed into Sacramento State College. Housing subdivisions and apartment buildings sprang up everywhere as SMUD's customer population surged to 625,000 by 1964.
Our Upper American River Project began providing electricity to the lowlands. We kept pace with the continued population growth by expanding our distribution system of poles and wires. By the mid-1960s,95 percent of the system had been rebuilt or newly constructed.
To improve customer service, we developed a one-stop customer inquiry and transaction center. A modern headquarters building was built at 62nd and S streets.
When they looked ahead at the end of the 1960s, our Board members saw continued growth for the region. To meet the surging demand for power, they approved the construction of a nuclear power plant – to be built on 2,100 acres in southeastern Sacramento County.
The site was named Rancho Seco -- Spanish for "dry ranch."