There's a saying that goes, when you lose the Internet it's like 1979 but when you lose power it's like 1879.
For a while, we actually lived through it when a big swath of the mid-Atlantic lost power in July. Let me tell you, it was ugly.
I've lived in Northern Virginia for most of my life. I remember dill pickles in a barrel at the grocery store, Quisp and Quake cereal, and Frank Howard was my hero on the Washington Senators, if that gives you an idea of old I am. In all of those years I have never seen anything like it.
The power went out on Friday night and by mid-morning Saturday, there wasn't a hotel room with air conditioning to be found in a 50 mile radius.
So many street lights were out that it was up to the drivers to figure who went next, and you're talking a metropolitan area of about 12 million people cycling through. That doesn't even account for the fact that I-95 cuts through the whole area with trucks, tourists, etc.
It was completely nuts.
Now imagine what it was like in India where nearly 700 million lost power. Yes, that's 700 million suddenly without power.
That's like the entire U.S. going down and then adding another 200+ million on top of that.
The lesson in both instances though is the same: It's necessary to build a "smart" grid.