Note that the author of this website is NOT an attorney and does not give legal advice. This is just information for your information, which I found on the internet. You should consult an attorney if you have any legal questions or matters.
If you want to sue SMUD, according to California law first you have to file a claim. The law is the Government Claims Act, California Government Code section 810 et seq., in particular DIVISION 3.6. CLAIMS AND ACTIONS AGAINST PUBLIC ENTITIES AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES [810. – 998.3.] ( Division 3.6 added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681. )
SMUD has a claim form and you must use it when filing your claim.
SMUD is very sneaky and currently (December, 2017) does not have this claim form searchable on their website using their search engine. However using startpage.com you can find it.
In case that link is broken you can download the claim form from this page.
There are many requirements for your claim and you must follow them all, exactly, or SMUD will dismiss your claim and if you sue the court will dismiss your suit. Good luck!