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Outage Reporting FAQs

If you see downed power lines or hear crackling wires, stay away! Immediately call 911 or SMUD's toll-free outage line at 1-888-456-7683. Keep others away, and avoid contact with anything that may be touching fallen wires.

Check to see if lights are out in neighboring homes. If yes, then report the outage by calling 1-888-456-7683, or by going to and clicking "Report an Outage." You'll be asked for the street number, and either the primary phone number, meter number or account number. For convenience, log in to My Account and we'll fill in that information for you.

While waiting for power to be restored, switch off all electrical appliances and lights – except for one light that our crews can see from the street. That will tell us when things are back to normal, and help prevent a power surge when the neighborhood is back on-line.

Tip: Visit anytime for storm preparation and safety tips.

We can't say for sure – every situation is different. But you can get an estimate by going to and finding your location on our outage map. The map is updated every five minutes, and gives an approximate restoration time for each separate outage, if one is available.

Keep in mind that even in your own neighborhood, some homes may come back on-line before others. Streets may have several circuits, with one each serving different groups of homes. So power is often restored one group of homes at a time, rather than all homes at once.

If there's no power at all in your home, the problem could be at the service panel (breaker box) attached to the outside of your home. Resetting the breakers may be all you need to do. (Caution: If you're not comfortable working with breakers and switches, play it safe. Call an electrician to help you.)

Steps to reset your breakers:

  1. Make sure your hands are dry and you are not standing in water.
  2. Check to see if the main circuit breaker has switched to the "off" or "trip" position. If it has, then move it fully to the "off" position, and then over to the "on" position.
  3. If that does not restore power, call our toll-free outage line at
    1-888-456-7683 to report an outage.
Tip: Before another outage, get familiar with your service panel location and how to operate the main circuit breaker. And, as long as you are thinking ahead, put together a basic emergency kit consisting of:

  • Flashlight
  • Bottled water
  • Extra batteries
  • Wind-up clock
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery-operated radio or TV

Actually, no. Our highest priorities are situations where public safety is at risk, like downed power lines and poles. Next would be service to hospitals and to large pumps critical to controlling a major flood. Other priorities, in order, would be outages affecting a large number of customers, followed by smaller, scattered outages.

On a normal day, our crews stand ready to respond quickly to outages as they occur. But in the event of a major storm or other unusual events, our crews are directed where the need is most urgent.

There are two kinds of outages, mainly: those for repairs, and those for upgrades and maintenance. Those for repairs are often unforeseen, resulting from car accidents, falling trees, storms, or even animals interfering with equipment. Those for upgrades and maintenance help us maintain service reliability, and are often, but not always, announced to you in advance.

Sounds like a problem at a substation. Substations are control points for power to a local area. If something like a bird or a falling tree branch causes a substation to short-circuit, it will try to reset itself automatically to clear the problem. When it does, you may experience a short period of intermittent power.

It depends. Our crews are sent to the source of the problem, which may or may not be in your immediate neighborhood. So while you may not see our crews, you can be sure that they are working efficiently to solve the problem at its source.

We work year-round to keep power lines clear of tree branches and vegetation across our 900 square mile service area. In addition, we are constantly upgrading lines, equipment and facilities to ensure the power's there when you need it. Safely delivering reliable service is our number one commitment to you.

Tip: Read more about our vegetation management program.

Staying ahead of the storm

We prepare year-round for winter storms.

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Preparing for winter storms

A few common-sense tips will help you to get ready.

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