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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to survive the power failure of PG&E and keep your devices charged

How to survive the power failure of PG&E and keep your devices charged

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Angela Lang / CNET

California's largest energy supplier on Friday said it could again supply power to customers in Northern and Central California this weekend due to an increased fire risk due to dry conditions and strong wind forecasts. The planned blackouts from PG&E can affect up to 850,000 customers in 36 counties in Northern and Central California.

PG&E turns off the power to prevent a repeat of last year, when its equipment was blamed for starting a fire in the foothills of California.

If you are in an area in California that is scheduled to lose power ̵

1; or if you want to be sure that you are ready in the event of a power failure – you can now take a handful of steps to get your electronic devices to last as long as possible during the outage.

Check if you are in a planned circuit breaker area

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PG&E has a page that you can check to see if you are in an area planned to lose power.

If the utility page is not available, you can find other cards that can give you an idea if you are in a power outage.

Charge before the power goes out

The goal is to supplement the power outage with all your mobile devices and portable energy sources.

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    A powerbank can keep your phone charged. Aukey

  • If you have a portable power bank you must charge it before the power goes out. A power bank will not withstand a week of uninterrupted power, but you may be able to get through several days if you switch on your phone to get updates and then switch it off again. And limit how often you check your phone: every time you switch it on, the battery runs out.
  • If you have a portable solar charger that can charge your phone, keep it ready.
  • If you do not have a power bank or solar charger, you may still have a power source. You can use the battery in a laptop – or your current or an older laptop that you have retired – to power your phone during blackout. You need to find the right cables to make the connection, but you need a few days to have power for your phone. And if you are in a group with multiple phones, consider allowing the group to use only one shared phone at a time instead of turning on everyone's phone at a time.

Saving your phone's battery

as long as possible, you can take a few steps to take care of it through the power outage.

  • First turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS unless you need them to get help in an emergency. You can keep your mobile connection switched on because mobile providers have said that their networks must be available via the blackout.
  • Then turn off push notifications and avoid streaming services that run on a battery. And dim your display: clear screens are great, but they use a lot of power.
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    Your phone may have a setting to trap energy-efficient services.

    Screenshot Clifford Colby / CNET

  • See if your phone has a battery saving mode that you can enable in settings that limit high power activities.
  • If you do not want to switch off your telephone, you can switch to airplane mode, which switches off all current-draining radios. If you then want to make a call or send a message, take it out of airplane mode. And consider sending fast text messages instead of calling, which can cause a battery to drag and drain.

Consult our guide for more information on how you can ensure that your battery lasts as long as possible through a blackout.

How do you survive a power failure?

During a power failure you have other things to worry about besides your phone.

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