There was a power outage in downtown DC today, it caused huge problems for the Metro, causing some to shut down, and it caused a lot of traffic delays because of traffic light outages.
If only traffic lights could be powered in a way that doesn't require them to be hooked to the grid. If only there was some sort of scalable power generation equipment you could put on top of a traffic light so it would have power in case of emergencies. If only it could be a environmentally friendly power generator as well, then you could make puns off of the idea "Green Means Go".
Anyway, back to the power outage. It lasted for three and a half hours, a lot of businesses were closed during that time. Commutes were extended, food spoiled and life was disrupted. The full extent on the economic damage done by this outage is not know yet, but blackouts have resulted in the loss of up to $10 billion of economic activity*.
Electricity is like a lot of things, you don't realize how much you rely on it till it's not there when you need it. Maybe this will inspire Pepco to modernize its grid and improve its infrastructure.
It's also going to be interesting to see what happens to power in DC later on in the summer when electrical demand skyrockets.
*This is the high-end figure for the cost of the Great August 2003 that hit the Northeast, Midwest and parts of Canada.