Well, despite what I had surmised, what had actually happened to our hot water is that one of our two hot water heaters was leaking and shorting out, and both were on the same circuit. I did not even think to look.
Now I am trying to replace the leaking unit. It is a Bradford White TTW1, model no.:MITW50l6CX10, serial number ML5623981 48 gallon unit. The plumber quoted around 2,000 installed, for what he called the exact same unit. He did not want to break down the costs, but eventually said that the unit itself was around 1,500. This seemed really high. I tried looking online at Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears, but could not find a power vented unit. Is that because they don’t carry them, or because I did not know how to look? And where might I look for a variety of power vented units so I can shop features and costs?