I have been saying in my presentations for several years that having and using the very best electronics, telecommunications and information technologies for all aspects of electric utility planning, operations and management will increasingly be considered to be minimum prudent utility practice. For example, in the context of the Hurricane Sandy circumstances, automated outage management systems could have improved utility response, shortened some service outages and improve communications with customers. Hundreds of electric utilities have been successfully using OMS for a decade and it is clearly prudent utility practice.
One result of Hurricane Sandy, the straight line wind storms in the NE and the far west, etc. will be increased deployment by retail and commercial customers of distributed backup generation. Ditto in the event that there are brownouts, blackouts resulting from inadequate centralized generation and transmission resources. This will represent a gradual unraveling of the monolithic, centralized, cost-plus monopoly franchise model, creating more opportunities for forward thinking utilities and non-utility providers (i.e., the dreaded "disintermediaries").