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.

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“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.”

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.

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