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For Immediate Release: March 8, 2007
Media Contact: Bob Aldrich - 916-654-4989

Spring Forward... but Do It Earlier!
Changing Time CAN Save Energy...

Daylight-saving time begins three weeks earlier this year.

Across most of the United States, clocks will "spring forward," or be set ahead one hour, at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 11, 2007, instead of the first Sunday in April.

The National Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed the dates upon which daylight-saving time begins and ends. This year is the first year for implementation of that law. The Act moves the spring time change to three weeks earlier, from the first Sunday in April to the second Sunday in March. It also extends the fall change one additional week, from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November.

Saving Time, Saving Energy

It has long been held that daylight-saving time saves energy. Benjamin Franklin was one of the first proponents of changing clocks to take advantage an earlier sunrise and long summer days. Franklin argued that people could save candles by utilizing the daylight hours at the beginning and end of each day.

An Englishman named William Willett perhaps was the most ardent proponent for changing the clocks. He wrote a pamphlet titled "The Waste of Daylight" and lobbied the House of Commons for many years to move the clocks. However, despite his efforts, it wasn't until World War I that Parliament enacted British summer time to save energy during the war. Most of the world, including the United States, followed suit in WW I and WW II.

From 1945 to 1966, there were no U.S. laws enforcing daylight-saving time. States and states and localities were free to observe if they chose to do so. By 1966, nearly 100 million Americans were observing daylight-saving time through their own local laws and customs. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established a uniform national policy by making the last Sunday of April and last Sunday of October dates on which the clocks would change. The law was amended in 1986 and was changed again in 2005 to make the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November the new dates.

While definitive data remains to be seen on just how much energy, if any, is saved during this year's extended daylight-saving time, the California Energy Commission estimates that there is a savings in electricity used during the peak of the day. The "peak" electricity demand is estimated to decline by approximately three percent for the remainder of March.

Analysis for peak electricity demand is included in a paper entitled, Electricity Savings From Early Daylight Saving Time (Adrienne Kandel, Energy Commission staff), that can be found on the Commission's website:

(PDF file, 6 pages, 548 kilobytes)

Change Your Batteries and Change A Light!

CAL FIRE and many fire departments throughout California recommend using daylight-savings time as a reminder to replace batteries in all smoke detectors. People who don't have a smoke alarms should consider contacting their local fire department. Many fired departments will provide smoke detectors at no cost.

A change of the clocks also marks a good time to replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Installing CFLs help save energy and they don't need to be replaced as often as regular bulbs. Locations that are lit for long periods of time, like porch lights, are good places for CFLs.

It's estimated that if every household in California changed one incandescent bulb to a CFL, it would save $75 million and keep 975 million pounds of greenhouse gases out of the air. This is the equivalent of removing 85,000 cars from the road for one year. Check with your local utility company to see if they offer rebates for compact fluorescent lights.

For more information about daylight-saving time, please visit the Energy Commission's website:


For more information about saving energy in your home or business, visit our Consumer Energy Center:


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