The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) doesn't want its name to be mud. One of the largest locally owned electric utilities in the US, SMUD serves more than 624,770 residential and commercial customer meters (a service area population of 1.4 million) in California's Sacramento and Placer counties. The utility generates about 70% of its electricity (its 1,300-MW capacity is derived primarily from hydroelectric and cogeneration power plants) and buys the rest. SMUD also sells power to wholesale customers, andhas one of the largest solar energy distribution systems in the US.
SMUD generates, transmits, and distributes electricity to a territory that includes Sacramento, Sacramento County, and a small portion of Placer County.
The utility operates more than 10,470 miles of transmission and distribution lines across its 900-sq.-mi. service area. It gets power from varied sources including hydropower, natural-gas-fired generators, renewable energy (such as solar and wind power), and purchases power on the wholesale market.
The company has installed 600,000 smart meters at customer locations across its entire service area.
In fiscal 2015 SMUD’s net revenue decreased by 4% due to lower wholesale revenues as the result of lower surplus gas sales, driven by a decrease in gas prices and less gas sold and lower energy prices and sales.
The company’s net income decreased by 23% due to lower net sales, and an increase in administrative, general, and customer and maintenance expenses.
In fiscal 2015 SMUD’s operating cash inflow decreased by 15%.
In response to market deregulation and the nationwide push for carbon emission reduction, SMUD has increased its generation capacity, placing a priority on renewable energy sources. As part of this green energy push, the company has a 15-year deal with Shell Energy (which expires in 2024) to buy landfill gas from sites in Texas. SMUD has installed more than 600,000 smart meters to help customers to better control their power use.
In 2015, the company invested $3.3 billion in electric utility plant assets and construction work in progress.
The utility even works with local dairies to install anaerobic digesters to turn manure into renewable energy.
In 2012 SMUD announced that it is the leading utility in the US in terms of new homes which had solar panels installed during construction. The utility commenced the SMUD Solar Smart Homes program in 2006 and had constructed more than 1,000 homes with solar panels by 2012.
The company has been delivering power to customers in the region since 1946, but its history goes back to 1923, when citizens voted to create SMUD as a community-owned electric service. However, years of engineering studies, political battles and legal wrangling delayed SMUD's purchase of PG&E's local electrical system.
In March 1946, the California Supreme Court denied PG&E's final petition to halt the sale, and nine months later SMUD finally began operations.