As most Americans sleep this Sunday night, daylight saving time (DST) will go into effect, bringing with it evening sunshine that will last longer and increased savings for millions of American families on their energy bills. All of this comes from an extension of the program co-authored by Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee.
“As the Beatles promised, here comes the sun. Although we are a bit away from warmer weather, backyard barbeques, and weekends at the lakeshore, our days will be getting a bit sunnier this weekend as we spring ahead for daylight saving time,” said Upton. “An annual rite of spring, daylight saving time is also a matter of energy conservation. By having a little more natural daylight at our disposal, we can help keep daily energy costs down for families and businesses. Much can be done to help keep prices low and reduce our dependence on overseas energy suppliers, and every bit of savings can help.”
“This has been a winter full of snowstorms and long, dreary days. Daylight Saving Time coming earlier helps clear away the winter blues a little earlier, and happens to save some energy and money along the way,” said Rep. Markey. “Government analysis has proven that extra sunshine provides more than just smiles. Daylight Saving Time saves consumers money and also curbs the nation’s energy consumption, which means lower energy bills, less pollution, and more reasons to enjoy the outdoors.”
As part of the 2005 Energy Bill, Reps. Upton and Markey amended the Uniform Time Act of 1996 to increase the portion of the year that is subject to DST, providing longer hours of daylight and helping consumers cut back on peak-hour electricity usage. The Upton-Markey Amendment extended the duration of DST in the spring by changing its start date from the first Sunday in April to the second Sunday in March, and in the fall by changing its end date from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November.
The amendment required that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) prepare a report evaluating the impact of the extended DST program. The key findings of the DOE report, issued in October 2008, included:
The total electricity savings of Extended Daylight Saving Time were about 1.3 Tera Watt-hour (TWh). This corresponds to a reduction in total use per individual of 0.5 percent per each day of Extended Daylight Saving Time.
These savings translate to $498 million in electricity savings and reduced oil usage of 2.9 million barrels of oil.
During Extended Daylight Saving Time, electricity savings generally occurred over a three- to five-hour period in the evening with small increases in usage during the early-morning hours.