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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Power has been restored to hundreds of downtown SMUD customers following a dayslong outage brought on by a substation fire on Tuesday. 

SMUD confirmed power was restored Friday morning around 7:30 a.m.

Crews had been working to repair one of three networks at SMUD’s Substation A in the area of H and 7th streets.

The Sacramento utility said the dayslong power outage is “due to the magnitude of the damage and the amount of equipment involved, as well as the tight quarters and confined workspace.”

SMUD said the fire did not damage the historical building nearby, which was mostly empty. The Old Folsom Powerhouse Station A is a historical landmark and was constructed in 1894.

A proposal submitted by SMUD earlier this year said the utility was looking into decommissioning the substation at the Old Folsom Powerhouse.

What caused the fire is still unknown, SMUD said.

A transformer exploded in the fire, and SMUD crews de-energized two networks. Those networks provided power for about 750 customers in downtown Sacramento. They had their power restored by Wednesday morning.

Damage to the transformer could not be fixed, so SMUD crews had to move all customers whose power relied on the damaged network onto another network at Substation A.

“The final steps to restore all customers required a planned power outage for customers on Network 3, impacting 66 residential customers and 112 commercial customers. SMUD directly contacted customers to inform them that the planned outage would begin at 1 a.m.” SMUD explained in Friday morning’s update.

A 12-story building that houses hundreds of senior residents was evacuated after the fire rendered the building’s fire suppression system unsafe.

SMUD said it worked with the American Red Cross, the city and community partners to provide evacuees with medical equipment, oxygen, hotel stays, shelters, generators, meals and transportation.

The outage also impacted major downtown buildings, like the Sacramento Main Jail and the Sacramento County Courthouse. The Theatre of Lights performance scheduled for Thursday night was also canceled due to the power outage.

SMUD appreciates our customers’ patience as we made repairs and restored power and sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience. SMUD also thanks all of our partners in addressing this emergency and for coming together to address customer needs during the outage. We worked collaboratively since Tuesday to provide food, hotel, transportation, relocation services, blankets, phone chargers, water, generators and translation services.

Now that power is restored, SMUD will assist customers in need as they return to their homes.


SMUD said the cause of the fire remains unknown at this time.