Sunday, April 20, 2014

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Daylight Saving Time Begins This Weekend, But It Will Come Earlier Next Year

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TWC News: Daylight Saving Time Begins This Weekend, But It Will Come Earlier Next Year
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Daylight saving time rolls around this Sunday. Next year, though, you won't have to wait as long to participate in this yearly spring ritual. But as NY1 Tech Beat Reporter Adam Balkin explains, more sunlight later may cause some problems you may not have considered.

When we spring our clocks forward on Sunday, it'll be the last time we have to wait until April for that extra sunlight. That's because as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, starting next year, daylight saving will start the second Sunday in March.

It's supposed help us all conserve energy.

“The theory is by shifting that hour in the morning to the evening you have more time to be outside and not be in your apartment, where you're using your electrical appliance,” says Glen McAnanama, who writes for energy conservation website TheOilDrum.com.

McAnanama is among those who say the government needs to focus its energy on more proven conservation efforts.

“For the three weeks this is going on we'll save about 100,000 barrels of oil, but every day in this country we're consuming 21 million barrels of oil, so this is only a minor start,” he says. “And it's only for a very short amount of time we're getting that change.”

Now when I heard about the change I probably reacted like you did - great, it'll stay lighter later for longer. But then it dawned on me. Wait a second, do we have another Y2K-type situation on our hands? Will all those computer systems and gadgets that rely on the current system all of a sudden be out of whack?

“There's a team of guys in Redmond, Washington, for Microsoft who are writing a little patch for it as we speak, but it shouldn't be a terrible problem,” says Michael Moyer of Popular Science Magazine. “But actually the airline industry is going to be very upset about it. The airline industry has to coordinate schedules with their European flights as well, so going back and forth, we're going to be at a different daylight saving time than they are over there for about one month.”

And talk about headache - next year, if it's determined the change does not have a significant impact on energy, Congress reserves the right to change it back again.

- Adam Balkin
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