What to know about Daylight Saving Time - Volunteer Energy - Midwest Natural Gas & Electricity

What to know about Daylight Saving Time

As we get closer to winter, we’re nearing the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST), which means most states in the U.S. and many countries across the world will be turning their clocks back an hour on Nov. 1 and will be able to enjoy some extra sleep. While this has become a normal routine for many – few actually know the history behind DST and why we still use it today. We’ve compiled some common questions and misconceptions about DST so you can better understand why you’re setting your clock back this Nov. 1.

How did DST originate?

While DST was originally used in Canada, Germany popularized the use of DST in 1916 during World War I. Clocks in the German Empire, and its ally Austria, were turned ahead by one hour on April 30, 1916 in order to conserve energy and minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort.

Who still uses DST today?

Today, DST is still used in over 70 countries, although the start and end times vary. Only two states in the U.S. don’t follow DST – Arizona and Hawaii. In the U.S., DST starts on the second Sunday in March when clocks are turned forward an hour and ends on the first Sunday in November when they are set back to standard time. (Tip: a simple way to remember this is the phrase, “spring forward, fall back”).

Why do we not use DST during the winter months?

In 1973, U.S. Congress ordered a year-round DST period in order to study the effects of seasonal time change on energy consumption. However, strong opposition from the public and the fact that it resulted in only modest energy savings led to amending the plan to return to standard time during the winter months. The current U.S.’s current schedule was introduced in 2007 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the country has been following it ever since.

How much energy does DST really save?

Energy Department experts studied the impact of the extended Daylight Saving Time on energy consumption in the U.S. in 2008 and found that the extra four weeks of Daylight Saving Time saved about 0.5 percent in total electricity per day. This is equivalent to the amount of energy used by 100,000 households for an entire year – so a pretty significant savings.

For additional ways to save energy in your household or business, check out rates from VE.

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