Extending Daylight Savings Time did jack shit for saving energy.

So says this article from Reuters.com:

But other than forcing millions of drowsy American workers and school children into the dark, wintry weather three weeks early, the move appears to have had little impact on power usage.

“We haven’t seen any measurable impact,” said Jason Cuevas, spokesman for Southern Co., one of the nation’s largest power companies, echoing comments from several large utilities.

That may come as no surprise to the Energy Department, which last year predicted only modest energy savings because the benefits of the later daylight hour would be offset.

We also already knew this because they tried it in Australia and it didn’t do much there either.

All it did do was screw with various electronic devices that were pre-programmed to adjust automatically on the old dates. My alarm clock, for example, which sets itself using the U.S. NIST time broadcast. There’s no way that I know of to update the firmware on my clock so it failed to adjust the time forward three weeks ago and I had to set it to the wrong time zone for it to display the time accurately. Then this past weekend it jumped ahead like it was programmed to do and I had to reset it back to the correct time zone.

Personally I hope we drop this experiment next year seeing as it did nothing to help energy savings. Honestly I think it wouldn’t be bad to drop DST altogether, but I’d be happy just going back to the old system so my alarm clock will work like it’s supposed to.

I love that alarm clock.

10 thoughts on “Extending Daylight Savings Time did jack shit for saving energy.

  1. Hey Les,  I sent you an email with a pdf of the instructions I used to “fix” my Emerson alarm clock for the new DST settings.  Hope they help.

  2. I’ve always rather liked Daylight Saving, especially when I was building my house twenty years ago – I got that extra how after work to build stuff.
    It might take a coupla days for the body clock to get it right but …
    I spent a coupla weeks, last month, in Queensland before the close of Daylight Saving.
    That was different; they don’t do Daylight Saving up there.
    On the plane up (to Qld) I backed my watch by an hour as well as my brain.  wink
    On the plane back to NSW I pushed my watch and brain forward and hour.
    A week later Daylight Saving in Oz ceased so I had to back the watch again.
    I was pretty happy that I hardly missed a beat.

    The energy saving maybe isn’t as great as it once was when people were more active and spent less time being entertained by television and techno games.

    As for alarm clocks, I stopped using them about 30 years ago when I learnt to look at the time before I went to bed, consciously decide how much I planned to sleep and wake up at the planned time or just before.
    I freely admit though that when I’ve had to catch a 7am or earlier flight interstate I wouldn’t quite trust myself but I always seemed to wake up before the alarm clock went off in any case.

  3. Wouldn’t the apparently small savings achieved be completely offset by the amount of time and money companies had to spend on correcting for the change in time or for correcting errors occurred by the time change?

    Seems somebody should have done a far better return on investment estimate.

  4. I would do the happy dance if DST were put to bed with a shovel once and for all.

    If I wanted to get an “extra” hour of sunlight, I’d work it out with my job to come in early and leave early, take a short lunch, etc.

  5. From some various un-verifiable sources I have read on the Internet claim that DST is pointless.  I haven’t had the time to spend to really think about it that much, and because my ADD keeps my mind on other things. 

    So I am with Les.  I could care less if they get rid of DST or go back to the old system.  But they should do one of the two.

  6. Amanda, got your email. Thanks big time as I didn’t think there was a way to adjust it. I’ve not tried it yet, but will check it out soon.

  7. I just bought a new alarm clock that is supposed to auto set itself. Now it doesn’t work correctly because the manufacturer, Timex, didn’t bother to include an errata sheet with the manual so I would know how to fix the settings that normally wouldn’t be touched. My grandmother’s Emerson alarm clock (basically the same kind Les has but possibly a newer model), which was purchased a few months before I bought mine, had a paper insert telling how the change the dates for the start and end of DST. I have yet to find any instructions on how to fix my clock so I either have to buy a new alarm or mess around with my current “auto set” alarm clock 4 times a year now instead of the two times a year I would have to adjust a non-“auto set” alarm.

  8. If we go back to the original DST schedule computers will have to be patched again.  New appliances have been programmed for the new DST schedule.  No matter which DST schedule we use next year it is going to be another bitch.  Bush is still an asshole.

  9. The bill that extended DST has a provision in it stating that Congress will review it and make a decision on whether to make it permanent. Right now it definitely seems like that decision will be made based on how many people prefer the new way over the old way.

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