April 20, 2010
"We Own What We Pay For"
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, or SMUD for short, was created by vote of Sacramento County residents in 1923, as a customer-owner format company under the Municipal Utility District Act. PG&E of San Francisco fought the legality of the vote in court for nearly a quarter century, stalling the company's formation until the beginning of 1946. This was only the first of several times that PG&E and SMUD would butt heads along the path of time.
In the 1980s, Folsom voted to join the Utility District, and again PG&E complained to no avail in the courts, to fight the annexation. Nearly 25 years later, the two would again cross paths, arguing the practicality of the annexation of the Yolo County cities of Davis, West Sacramento, and Woodland. The initiative did make the ballots for the voters of Yolo County; however PG&E's disreputable propaganda of the topic would ultimately lead to its defeat when it came to vote.
Today, SMUD is one of the ten largest publicly owned utility providers in the United States, generating nearly 60% of its power from Natural Gas plants and 25% from Hydro-electric plants. Where a nuclear power plant once operated at Rancho Seco, until its demise at the helm of voters in the late 80s, SMUD now boasts one of the largest solar arrays in the Western United States, as well as their Cosumnes gas-fired plant. SMUD is leading the way in the world of eco-friendly awareness we live in today, flaunting a remarkable renewable energy rate of roughly 20%.
With the use of Methane gas being researched more diligently and diversified, SMUD looks to build up a renewable resource rate of nearly 40% in the coming decade, with an off-gassing and VOC rate of less that 1ppm, which will hopefully set them out ahead of the pack of even the likes of PG&E in the energy providing world.
Dave "Bug" Young, Historian