"Just plug it into the wall, and it works!" has been synonymous with reliability in my lifetime in much the same way as "As sure as the sun will rise in the east."
If the power went down, it was an extraordinary, brief, and localized event, like a tree across some power lines or maybe a car hit a pole somewhere in the neighborhood; a really big outage caused by an ice storm or hurricane was national news. I think I've gone without electricity more than 24 hours maybe two or three times in my life. Intermittent power caused by an insufficient or overstressed grid was something that happened in the Third World.
Welcome to the Third World, baby.
EDIT: Broken Patriot shares some of the things he's done to make his place more resistant to grid disruptions. This is stuff that would have made Roseholme Cottage a happier place in the aftermath of the Great Storm of Spring '08...