One major utility began cutting power Wednesday to millions of Californians due to predicted high winds that could down power lines and spark wildfires. And other power companies warned they could follow suit.
Here's what you need to know.
Though utilities have warned for months that preemptive cutoffs were a possibility, the outages appeared to be catching many consumers by surprise. While many Florida and East Coast residents have long learned to cope with power outages from hurricanes, weather-related outages could be considered a new phenomenon in the Golden State.
The website for Pacific Gas & Electric, serving Northern and Central California, was swamped by those seeking more information, and many customers complained the pages couldn't be accessed. Likewise, Southern California Edison customers were having trouble accessing the power-outage section of its website.
With that in mind, here are some answers to key questions.