Despite three dry years in a row, energy officials say California will have enough hydropower thanks to slightly above average snow and rainfall in the Pacific Northwest.
"It looks like we'll be able to import their excess capacity during those peak times when we need it here in California," says Steven Greenlee with Cal ISO, the Folsom-based agency that manages California's energy supply.
Greenlee says, barring any extreme events such as prolonged heat waves or wildfires that threaten transmission lines, California will have adequate power supplies made up of imported hydro, natural gas and solar.
Meanwhile, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District says ratepayers won't be charged for the extra cost of importing hydro from the Pacific Northwest. SMUD's Scott Martin says that's because the utility has set aside $35 million to mitigate increased power costs.
"If the savings account had not been there," explains Martin, "then we would have had an increase this year because we are much drier than normal."
But Martin says a fourth dry year would likely trigger a hydroelectric rate surcharge of two percent next year.