Historic string of storms causes significant damage to SMUD grid

100+ crews working 24/7 to restore power

The Sacramento region has been hit by a historic string of storms since New Year’s Eve — bringing with it heavy rains, 70-mph winds and lightning, causing devastating destruction and unprecedented storm-related outages to the Sacramento area.

Last night’s storm was the fourth in a row to hammer Northern California. More than 599,000 customers have experienced power outages since New Year’s and SMUD has restored power to 98 percent of those customers. Crews continue to work around-the-clock to restore the remaining 12,000 customers, some of whom will remain without power for several more days as crews work complex jobs in challenging conditions.

SMUD has more than 100 crews working around-the-clock to restore power and have called in mutual aid from around the state as Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a statewide emergency.

Storm facts to date:

  • Most damaging string of storms in SMUD history
  • Largest mobilization of personnel and restoration crews ever
  • 599,000 customers have experienced a power outage since New Year’s Eve
  • 98 percent have been restored as crews work on those remaining without power 
  • 300+ power poles have come down and each takes a full crew 8 hours to replace
  • 1,800 wires down, mostly from trees into lines
  • 650 downed and broken trees

SMUD line crews, troubleshooters and other field personnel are working 24/7 to restore power to customers as weather conditions are safe to work. Crews have made significant progress assessing damage, making repairs and restoring power to 98 percent of customers. Thanks to partnerships with other local utilities and contract crews, SMUD has more than 100 crews in the field, including those from Roseville Electric, Turlock Irrigation District, Modesto Irrigation District, Western Area Power Administration, City of Riverside, Los Angeles Water & Power, Redding Electric Utility, Clark County Public Utilities District and Lodi Electric. It’s the largest mobilization of restoration crews that SMUD has ever deployed.

Due to extensive damage, many customers have experienced lengthy outages that last overnight, and some will last several more days. SMUD has been contacting vulnerable 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, if access is limited or not possible due to floods, or if there is active lightning.

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 or on our App.
  • If you are the only one without power, visit 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.

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