Pacific Gas & Electric confirmed Tuesday that 800,000 customers across California would lose power over the course of five days. The plan will affect 34 counties as a precautionary measure amid high risk of wildfires.

For a lot of people, the news immediately leads to thoughts of how to keep about their phones charged, their lights on and their refrigerator contents from spoiling. SFGate has a guide on how to prepare for the planned power outages.

In terms of what to buy, time matters a lot. There's no sense in shopping around for the highest-rated or cheapest product if you can't get one this week.

You'll also want to make sure you have ample food and water and a full tank of gas, but if you're in the Bay Area, you shouldn't be stranded. Check out SFGate's guide on how to prepare for an outage.

Products from here on out will either be available for 1- or 2-day shipping, or you can buy online and pick-up in store at retailers like Best Buy, Target or Home Depot.

Just make sure at checkout that the product is available and will ship on time for you, or if you're buying and picking up, to choose the store closest to you.



The PowerCore 20,000 mAh is available in a bunch of places. If it's fully charged, it has enough juice to recharge an iPhone 8 almost seven times.

Now might also be a good time to consider a Mophie phone case. For the uninitiated: It's a case with a battery built in that charges at the same time as your phone and will keep it powered up several times longer.

Again, Anker offers great high-capacity batteries and power stations, like the Powerhouse 200 Portable Rechargeable Generator. It can recharge a Macbook Pro up to five times, and it has AC outlet/USB-C/USB/12V car outlets. These batteries are often used for camping, but can tide you over energy-wise for most electronics short of appliances.

As SFGate previously reported, a refrigerator should keep food cold up to four hours with the doors sealed. A full freezer will keep food safe for up to 48 hours, while a half-full freezer will keep food safe for up to 24 hours.

Maybe you've got a flashlight lying around the house somewhere. Now's a good time to locate it, and to make sure you've got batteries ready, too.

In a pinch, a gas-powered generator can run appliances for brief stints. Be sure you know what you're doing, and don't run your generator without ventilation. You'll need to know your appliance's wattage to make sure you're properly prepared.

As the National Ag Safety Database explains: "If you want a generator to run a refrigerator and a freezer, the wattage of the refrigerator would be 800 and the freezer would be 1,000. To select the correct size generator, you decide if both refrigerator and freezer are to start at the same time. If so, you would need (1,800 X 4) 7,200 watts. You would select the nearest larger wattage generator. If you can be certain both appliances will not start at the same time, you would only need 4,800 watts (to run the refrigerator while starting the freezer)."

The Sportsman Sandstorm Gasoline 4000-Watt Portable Generator was available at press time at the Walmart in San Leandro for $289.

SFGate participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

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