California Power Outage Schedule: PG&E Begins Planned Blackouts as Kincade Fire Rages in Sonoma County

Pacific Gas and Electric, the electricity provider to millions of residents of California's Bay Area and other northerly parts of the state, will begin shutting off power to sections of its grid this weekend as fires continue to sweep the state.

PG&E has faced untempered criticism and a slew of lawsuits over its role in California's devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018. In January the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, specifically referencing the Camp fire that killed 86 people destroyed the town of Paradise in 2018--as well as the 2017 fires that ravaged Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and more northern counties and caused 44 deaths.

This time around, the utility is taking a proactive stance, repeatedly cutting power during periods of dry, windy weather in a bid to prevent downed power lines or sparking transformers from igniting another catastrophe.

With humidity below 20 percent and winds expected to top 70 mph on Sunday and Monday, PG&E has already begun turning off the power Saturday, implementing another round of public safety planned shutoffs (PSPS) across 36 California counties through the weekend. Almost a million people will temporarily lose their electricity, according to reporting by ABC News.

According to a press release provided to Newsweek by PG&E, as of Saturday at 2 p.m. PT the outages were scheduled according to the following phases:

Phase 1) October 26 at 2 p.m. PT: Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, Sierra, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, Yuba Counties

Phase 2) October 26 at 4 p.m. PT: Lake, Marin, Mendocino (south), Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Yolo Counties

Phase 3) October 26 at 5 p.m. PT: Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus Counties

Phase 4) October 26 at 5 p.m. PT: Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa, Tuolumne Counties

Phase 5) October 26 at 5 p.m. PT: Humboldt, Mendocino (north), Trinity Counties

Phase 6) October 27 at 10 a.m. PT: Kern County

As far as estimating when the lights will come back on, PG&E demurred, stating: "Given the prolonged period during which the wind event will unfold, and the large number of power line miles that will need to be inspected before restoration, customers are being asked to prepare for an extended outage of at least two days once the severe weather has passed."

PG&E customers in California can check the status of a specific address, and whether their homes or businesses are likely to be impacted by the PSPS on the PG&E website.

Those already facing outages can also check to see when power should be restored.

On Friday the governor announced a $75 million program to help mitigate the financial impacts of the PSPS.

A sign posted on the door of Vitality Bowls cafe announces closure due to power outages on October 10, 2019 in Marin City, California. Power outages were scheduled as preemptive moves by PG&E to address hot, dry and windy weather and the risk of wildfires, according to the company. PG&E began a new round of outages at 2 p.m. on October 26. Ezra Shaw/Getty