Sacramento utility warning: Expect power outages tomorrow

Officials with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District say they expect multiple power outages when wind and rain sweep through the region Thursday, some possibly for an extended period, and are calling on residents to be prepared.

The upcoming storm will brings high winds, with gusts above 60 miles per hour tomorrow, similar to those that hit Sacramento in 2008, snapping utility poles in half, knocking power lines down, and throwing 150,000 customers into the dark.

“It looks like a mirror of that 2008 storm, but the wind speed will be sustained over a longer period of time,” SMUD spokesman Chris Capra said. “We will have all hands on deck, with line crews, troubleshooters all responding to outages.”

Capra warned that SMUD will not, however, send crew members up poles when winds are at their peak, and that may mean some areas will experience power outages for a longer periods until winds die down. “We won’t be climbing poles if winds are sustained,” he said.

SMUD also will prioritize its outage response, sending crews first to situations where public safety is at risk, such as a live power line lying in a street, and secondly, to large outages where many people are affected.

For information on power outages, Sacramento County residents can go to the SMUD.org website where the utility company has posted an outage map, showing every outage in the Sacramento area, how many customers are without power and the estimated time of power restoration.

Capra warned that if SMUD becomes overwhelmed with outages, the utility may not post estimated restoration times on the website map. Instead, customers can call SMUD’s customer service line, open 24 hours, at 888-456-7683(SMUD).

Capra suggested area residents prepare for the storm by charging their cell phones, and making sure flashlights have fresh batteries. Residents of rural areas should stock up on drinking water. Capra also suggested having a manual can opener and some canned food.

If your power goes out, check first with neighbors to see if their power is out. If their power is not out, your house breaker switch may have tripped.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

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