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Volume 15, Issue 44 ~ November 1 - November 7, 2007

What will we save setting our clocks back a week later?

These dark autumn nights are about to get a little darker a little earlier as Daylight Saving Time leaves us at 2am Sunday morning. If you’ve not paid attention, this is a week later than years’ past, a change orchestrated by the president and Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Since 1966, with passage of the Uniform Time Act, we’ve set our clocks back an hour in the fall on the last Sunday in October; now we make the switch the first Sunday in November. This past spring, if you recall, we moved our clocks ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March as opposed to April’s first Sunday.

The Energy Policy Act aims to reduce energy consumption while stimulating new methods of energy production. The idea, however, that manipulating Daylight Saving Time will save energy has yet to be proven.

Research shows that energy use correlates with when you go to bed, turning off televisions, lights and such behind you. All this accounts for nearly 25 percent of the country’s daily electricity. In the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that for each day observing Daylight Saving Time, America’s electricity usage falls about one percent.

Daylight Saving Time is not mandatory, and it is not followed in Hawaii, most of Arizona except for the Navajo Reservation, Indiana within the Eastern Time Zone and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

What will this move mean for us? Only time will tell whether it saves energy, and it certainly won’t affect the number of hours of daylight or, for that matter, the amount of darkness with which to enjoy the wonders of the heavens.


Illustration: © Copyright 1925 M.C. Escher/Cordon Art-Baarn-Holland; Graphics: © Copyright 2007 Pacific Publishers. Reprinted by permission from the Tidelog graphic almanac. Bound copies of the annual Tidelog for Chesapeake Bay are $14.95 ppd. from Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas, CA 94924. Phone 415-868-2909. Weather affects tides. This information is believed to be reliable but no guarantee of accuracy is made by Bay Weekly or Pacific Publishers. The actual layout of Tidelog differs from that used in Bay Weekly. Tidelog graphics are repositioned to reflect Bay Weekly’s distribution cycle.Tides are based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are positioned to coincide with high and low tides of Tidelog.

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