PG&E Heads Up I-80 for Snow Survey

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PLACER COUNTY-

Pacific Gas & Electric conducted its own snow pack survey Monday, a day earlier than the Department of Water Resources.

“Right now, we are doing a lot better than we were a month or two ago. The snow is very welcome. We have seen a lot of snow come through in the last couple of storms,” Chris Sanders, with PG&E, said.

PG&E crews were off the Cisco Road exit on Interstate 80, one of the highest locations the company surveys – about 7,200 feet.

Sanders says more than five feet of snow fell in the past week. Combine that with the older snow on this mountain and it’s about 30 percent of normal, when it comes to snow fall.

“We found that we have 16.6 inches of water content,” Sanders said.

Those are numbers PG&E needs to know.

“This helps us manage and forecast our water resources for hydro power not necessarily now, but further in the summer when it’s needed,” PG&E spokesperson Brandi Ehlers said.

Fifteen percent of PG&E’s power comes from hydro power. They store the water runoff in reservoirs and release it, creating power when the demand for electricity is higher.

“It not only helps us manage our hydro-power output, it also helps us manage water ways for recreation and other users, most importantly the fish,” Ehlers said.

PG&E surveys 14 different locations. Their numbers are combined with other agencies that also survey the snow. When all the numbers are combined, the recent snow could mean big news for everyone especially farmers.

PG&E will do one more snow survey May first.

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