"darkness on the edge of town"
The power need not be off too long before political opportunists (and other looters) come crawling out of the outlets to seize the moment for personal gain -- hmm, now that's a theme...
But the real inspiration for this post is to point out a potential solution to the fallibility inherent in complex centralized systems (be they grids of electrical or political power): encourage decentralization, localized sovereignty, personal responsibility.
In this case, consider: A tax credit for the purchase of power cells. It would relieve the power grid, prevent mass blackouts, boost an industry, create jobs, encourage research and development of alternative power sources, and make the US less vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Seems like a good reason to give some of their income back to those who earn it.