Watch CBS News

Power Back On But Days-Long Power Outage Sparks Outrage For Sacramento Businesses

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - The power is back up, but the reason why it took so long has many downtown Sacramento business owners boiling on the hottest holiday weekend of the year.

Danny Johnson said, "This was going to be a great month and then all of a sudden I'm at a loss."

Johnson speaks for dozens of business owners frustrated financially after an explosion and fire at a SMUD substation knocked out power in the downtown area for nearly four days.

"It's been terrible without power. I can't do anything," said Johnson.

Johnson, who runs a donut and ice cream shop in Old Sacramento, rented a generator at $200 a day, plus the price of diesel.

"I have eight refrigerators in here full of food and that would be thousands and thousands of dollars worth of food lost for me," saiad Johnson

"We came in yesterday and threw out probably a third to half of our food inventory," said Janie Desmond-Ison.

Desmond-Ison of Steamers Café says she threw out thousands of dollars worth of food, which she will have a hard time replacing now due to the pandemic

"We couldn't go and do our shopping because a lot of what we need isn't in the stores right that's why we stocked up on Monday," she said.

And when power restoration got pushed back an hour, it was a dark spot in what was expected to be a bright moment.

"I had my staff here at 6 a.m. freezing cold in the dark," she said.

When the lights finally went back on just before 7:30 a.m., it wasn't business as usual.

"Like, our coffee machine wasn't working. Electricity going down causes a chain reaction. Our sump pump, our sewer...everything. So we had to make sure we have water. It wasn't just turn the switch on and open the cash register," she said.

News that SMUD cited the need for a substation repair in 2015 and was actually in the process of decommissioning it sparked outrage.

"It's very disconcerting to me. The timing couldn't have been worse. we went through the entire year. The last two years waiting for this kind of a weekend and week," she said.

Business owners now wonder if they'll have to foot the entire bill for this power failure.

"Somebody should be accountable. I don't know if it's SMUD or what. Someone should be accountable, but probably nothing is going to happen," said Johnson.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.