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Distributing the power grid by having millions of people run generators is a terrible idea, for a lot of reasons. First, casualties from the generators would far outnumber casualties from power outages. Second, it would be horrifically expensive. Third, outages of major distribution lines are few and quickly fixed. It's all the local distribution lines that take so long to repair after damaging storms. Distributing the electricity generation won't help. Fourth, even during normal times, distributed generators would be MORE prone to damage, breakdown, vandalism, etc. compared to a few centralized generators. Sure, fewer people would be affected at any given time from distributed generation breakdowns, but the overall people-hours of downtime would go up. Fifth, if these distributed generators were diesel then you'd have MORE pollution and CO2, not less. If instead you made them wind or solar, then they'd be useless during the very weather emergencies we're talking about here.
Posted by dmm99