Valley Drought 2014: Valley Power Plant Shut Down - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Valley Drought 2014: Valley Power Plant Shut Down

Valley Drought 2014: Valley Power Plant Shut Down

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FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) -

Right now, Valley farmers are not the only ones feeling the pinch from the drought.

According to David Merritt from Pine Flat Power Plant, hydro plants are also in trouble.

"Currently the facility is not generating any power at this time," said Merritt.

Pine Flat has been providing the Valley with water, and power for the past 120 years.

The Valley's streak of sunny days, and no rain, has the Lake at 18% of its capacity.

That is about half of what it usually holds.

"It's a big deal as far as the water users in the Valley. Of course there is reduced reservoir, and reduced water deliveries to our districts," said Merritt.

Merritt adds that its one of the worst dry spells on record.

The lack of water is putting a dent on revenue and operation.

It's a problem that Merritt says is affecting all hydroelectric plants throughout California.

"We need rain, we need snow. It's not something we can fix ourselves. We just have to rely on nature to recover...go through the cycle," said Merritt.

But what if we don't get enough rain?

PG&E says it is already thinking ahead.

"We're working with the communities we serve to save water now so that our extensive hydro resources can meet the demand even during the peak summer months. It's too early to say what impact a lower than expected year of hydro production will have on our bills," said Denny Boyles, a representative from PG&E.

PG&E and other power suppliers may have to resort to gas, wind and solar energy; perhaps at a higher price tag.

"Hydro typically being a more of a reusable resource is a cheaper product to provide," said Merritt.

Based on projections from previous years, David Merritt believes the plant will produce energy by July of this year.  

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