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SMUD Ensures Reliability with Transmission Line Wire Replacement

Nov. 22, 2019
The project includes replacing existing all-aluminum wire with advanced aluminum composite wire.

SMUD is upgrading an existing transmission line this fall and winter in the city of Sacramento and portions of Sacramento County. SMUD will replace three wires on the towers that run from the Procter & Gamble co-generation plant on 83rd Street near 24th Avenue, to the large bulk substation on Hurley Way near Howe Avenue. The project will ensure continued reliable electrical service in coming years for all SMUD customers, including better load serving capability, which is especially valuable on hot summer days.

The project includes replacing existing all-aluminum wire with advanced aluminum composite wire along a 6 ¼-mile stretch. The work began in mid-October and was expected to be completed by the end of January 2020, weather permitting, an ideal time of year as demand on the SMUD system is considerably lower in cooler months. It is not expected that residential or commercial customers will be affected by service outages during the construction activities. In the event of a necessary planned outage, SMUD will notify the affected customers in advance with details of the expected date, time and duration so that our customers can make any necessary arrangements. SMUD also held neighborhood meetings in advance of the start of the project so customers could learn more.

When construction starts, folks may notice installed guard structures with netting over all public streets, thoroughfares and highways, where space allows. The guard structures will allow for normal traffic to flow while the work is performed overhead. Where space does not allow for a guard structure installation, the contractor that is performing the work will provide traffic control, and if needed for public safety, may temporarily close some minor roads. Some multi-use trails and greenbelts along the route may need to be closed during the work.

The need for the project arose from SMUD studies of its transmission system that showed a need for improved load-serving capability (LSC) margin over the next ten years. LSC is the maximum amount of power SMUD is able to provide to its customers at peak demand times, typically hot summer afternoons. Recent demand forecasts show growth in SMUD’s peak summer demand due to economic growth and other factors.

The aluminum composite reinforced wire that will replace the existing wire is new for SMUD and is used by many utilities in the USA and internationally, and has been proven to be very reliable. The aluminum composite reinforced wire offers an increase in line capacity within the same size package as the existing wire, allowing SMUD to increase line capacity without having to replace whole transmission structures.  

For more information about SMUD, visit

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