By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Power outages lasted weeks for some people in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and it’s a frightening thought that someone might be able to do that on purpose.

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Terrorists versus the power grid sounds both like a national security nightmare and the gist for a thriller.

Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, co-author of Gridlock which is a thriller on that subject, says the threat is real and the novel may help bring it to the attention of a wider group.

“Our power system is very vulnerable,” he says. “You could see a shutdown by hackers in cyber terror. You could see it shutdown for days, weeks or months, crippling this country and causing enormous havoc.”

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Dorgan says there’s no one national overseer of the power grid.

“We built a super highway of highways for cars in this country, but we never built a superhighway of transmission capability,” he explains.

Dorgan says electric deregulation has actually made the situation worse, with more stakeholders to consider.

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