Abstract: Most large blackouts are caused by cascading failures—sequences of equipment outages, one set of outages precipitating another. We study the application of distributed, autonomous agents for shortening such sequences. Each agent controls a single variable—the consumption of a load or the output of a generator. Each agent uses model predictive control and cooperates with its neighbors in making its decisions. Experiments using the IEEE 118 bus test case illustrate the effectiveness of this method.