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, and has 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.
In 2013 SMUD’s revenues grew by 3% thanks to higher retail customer sales. Surplus gas and wholesale power sales (higher than the previous year) were offset by lower volumes.
The utility’s net income decreased by 56% in 2013 as the result of higher operating costs as the result of increased purchased power expenses ($31.7 million higher in 2013, mainly due to higher average prices) offset by lower volumes. About 9% less energy was purchased in 2013 at prices that averaged 24% higher than in 2012.
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 installedof more the 600,000 smart meters to help customers to better control their power use.
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 utility even works with local dairies to install anaerobic digesters to turn manure into renewable energy.