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PG&E Surveys Snow Pack for Summer Hydroelectric Power Use

By Chelsea KAY, @ChelseaKayTv
Published On: Apr 02 2013 08:09:10 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 03 2013 11:15:01 AM CDT
CASCADE MOUNTAINS, Calif. -

PG&E is taking their annual snow surveys to figure out how much hydroelectric power they'll be able to produce.

"PG&E Spokesman, Paul Moreno, said they want to "know exactly how much water  the snow is going to produce this year then in turn will be hydroelectric power."

Moreno told us they survey the snow pack every month from February to May, the months we usually get the most rain.

In order to measure the amount of water in a snow sample, they use this snow tube. They push it in the ground, get it as far down to ground level as possible, then pull it out and measure the amount of snow inside.  

Moreno said this year "started off very wet. We had a very wet November and December and that put us well ahead but a very dry January through March eroded that lead and put us below average."     

Even though it's been a drier than normal  winter, Moreno said they always prepare for California's fluctuating weather.

"Our reservoirs, they're actually pretty good for two reasons: one, we've been holding back some water and also last year, we had a pretty wet season toward the end of the rainy season," he said.

Moreno told us they always forecast ahead so they can be ready for the summer months, PG&E's biggest demand period.

"We're managing our water supply very carefully so that the start of summer, our reservoirs are going to be very full and we'll have hydroelectric power available," Moreno said.

Crews work throughout most of the year  trying to plan out the best ways to make their own electricity.

This will keep them from having to buy as much outside energy, which of course makes it cheaper for the consumers.