Certain moments in history can describe the whole period; to an extent the future as well. On July 30 and 31, 2012, half the population of India went without power. People were stranded on the streets, traffic turned to chaos, trains stood motionless on the tracks, miners trapped underground, subway lines paralysed. The power blackout was the largest in the history, affecting 670 million people, roughly 10 per cent of the world population. It was really an embarrassing reminder of the intractable problems plaguing our power sector, and the shape of things to come, if the status quo prevails.