Clocks to 'spring ahead' on Sunday

March 6, 2009 5:32:28 AM PST
It's time to set clocks ahead by one hour for daylight saving time, which begins at 2 a.m. Sunday.

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This will be the third year daylight saving time falls on the second Sunday in March, rather than the first Sunday in April, due to a federal law signed in 2005 that extends daylight saving time by one month, reportedly to save more energy.

According to the California Energy Commission, however, extending daylight saving time had "little or no effect on energy consumption in California."

Bob Aldrich, a spokesman for the energy commission, said that in general, daylight savings time is believed to save some energy, although the last studies on the matter were done in the 1970s when the country had very different energy-use patterns.

The 1970s study found that daylight saving time saved about 1 percent of energy per day, in part because people tended to go outside more to take advantage of longer daylight hours in the evening instead of staying inside and turning on lights and televisions, Aldrich said.

While many people enjoy having an extra hour of daylight in the evenings, a nearly equal number of people miss the morning light, according to a campaign to end daylight saving time, a practice that began during World War I.

Fire departments have been using the time change as a convenient way to help people remember to replace the batteries in their smoke detectors.

The state energy commission is now suggesting that, while people have the ladder out to change their clocks and smoke detector batteries, they could also consider swapping their light bulbs for energy efficient bulbs, which, by the way, could help save much more energy.

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