This paper examines the short and long-term societal impact of prolonged power outages caused by a disaster, and how local communities can cope with it. Community resilience is used as a conceptual framework to analyse the community responses to power outages following the 2010 Chile earthquake. Based on empirical evidence from longitudinal qualitative research we explore the resilience capacities and resources deployed in five low-income communities within Talcahuano city, one of the most heavily affected cities by the power outage. Our research reveals that community resilience attenuates the negative consequences of power outages during the response and recovery periods. However, external assistance is required to reduce the short and long-term societal impact of prolonged outages. Policy recommendations and guidelines are provided on how to increase community resilience and reduce the negative impact of long-lasting power outages.