By the beginning of July, almost the entire state was facing drought conditions, with residents being asked to curb water usage by 20 percent. The lack of rain also is taking a toll on hydroelectric generation, which accounts for about 12 percent of California’s net generation. Without a reliable supply of water, hydroelectric plants can’t function at full capacity. According to the California Independent System Operator, even natural gas generation could be affected if there isn’t enough water available to cool working plants.
The weather can also wreak havoc because high temperatures can cause power lines to fail, which in turn can cause brush fires and outages.