Touting the fact that its rates have increased only twice in the last 17 years, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District announced that it plans a 7.6 percent increase effective in 2008. The increase is attributed to a mix of renewables commitments, investments in energy efficiency, higher natural gas costs to feed its traditional power plants, and a solar surcharge. The increase is set for public comment in June. It's also been a stressfully dry year for the muni's hydropower. According to staff, the water content to feed SMUD's system is down to 46 percent of normal. While that translates into a $33 million loss for the muni in power sales, SMUD has hedging contracts that are expected to absorb the costs this year. The muni also approved a new transmission line to an Apple Computer site in Elk Grove. The 1.1-mile line for 69 kV is set to hook up with a server farm intended to allow more music uploads for Apple iPod users.