Pakistan’s power outage on January 23, 2023


by Tilottama Ghosh, Christopher Elvidge

The image is a red, green blue color composite with:
Red = JPSS NPP VIIRS DNB January 2022 monthly cloud-free composite
Green = JPSS NPP VIIRS DNB visible band
Blue = JPSS NPP VIIRS M15 thermal band – inverted so cold clouds and terrain are bright blue

The areas of power outage are shown in red, normal power supply in yellow, and the clouds and high elevation (cold) terrain are shown in blue. Light obscured by clouds are magenta.

Millions of people in Pakistan were reported to be without electric power on during the day on Monday, January 23, 2023 when electricity was turned off Sunday night to conserve energy. The next morning, technicians were unable to restart the system in the dawn hours and the power remained off during much of the day on January 23 ( Many major cities, including the capital of Islamabad, and many of the small villages and towns across Pakistan were reported to be without electricity for more than twelve hours. Officials announced that power was restored in many cities after a blackout of about 15 hours. Due to the lack of proper maintenance and failure of the government to invest in new infrastructure, Pakistan’s power distribution infrastructure is in poor shape and has become susceptible to frequent blackouts (

Despite the reporting of power outages, the satellite analysis indicates that most areas of lighting remained lit, perhaps due to the use of local backup generators. The VIIRS data were collected after midnight on January 23, 2023.  Several patches of lighting outage were detected based on a red color in the color composite.  Some of the outage areas are indicated with lines on the color composite image.