SMUD Preventing Power Outages

Some neighborhoods have overhead power lines, while others have them underground, but SMUD's Chris Capra says while underground looks nicer, the trade-off is outages can last a little longer.

"Our system is about 60% underground and 40% overhead," explains Capra.  "We want to be able to prevent an outage from occurring, so we're working on cables that have been identified as a problem and need to be replaced."

Keno Grigsby is the foreman on a crew at work on the replacement of about a thousand poles and 400-thousand feet of cable, which is about the same distance from Folsom Lake to Lake Tahoe.

This time, it was a new transformer box damaged after 8 years of Elk Grove's hard water.

"Failure can happen when temperatures go up or when oil pressure gets low," says Grigsby. "So we're out here now, that way it's a short outage, because if it went out on it's own, it'll be out for a couple of hours."

Capra and Grigsby agree that doing the work now will save doing a lot of it when the weather is a lot less cooperative.

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