The power grid is one of humanity's most significant engineering undertakings and is essential in developed and developing nations alike.

Currently, transparency into the power grid relies on utilities and more fine- grained insight is provided by costly smart meter deployments. We claim that greater visibility into power grids can be provided in an inexpensive, crowdsourced manner independent of utilities by leveraging existing smartphones. Our key insight is that an unmodified smartphone can detect power outages by monitoring changes to its own power state, locally verifying these outages using a variety of sensors, and corroborating with other phones through cloud services.

This approach enables a decentralized system that can scale, potentially providing researchers and concerned citizens with a powerful new tool to analyze the power grid and hold utilities accountable for degradation in power grid quality.