It’s been a long, cold, rough winter in many parts of the U.S., but due to a new federal law, spring will be coming early this year. As part of the The Energy Policy Act of 2005, the U.S. will switch to Daylight Saving Time (DST) on the second Sunday in March (3/11/2007). This means that we will ‘spring forward’ three weeks earlier than we have in the past, and then ‘fall back’ one week later on the first Sunday in November (11/4/2007).
The official status of DST had been an on again, off again affair throughout the twentieth century with the existence of a big war or an energy crisis often dictating its support or lack thereof. The latest shift will provide everyone (except those living in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and most of Arizona, where DST is not observed) with an extra month of longer days and shorter nights.
The longer days and shorter nights translate into lower electric bills for consumers. While this is good for energy consumption, it can get confusing, especially if you have contact with people living in foreign countries. The EU and most countries observe DST, but on a different schedule than the U.S. Other countries such as China and Japan do not ever adjust their clocks. Keeping track of who is on what time where can be a challenge.
Looking back into the past, there were two professions that were able to make a lot of money from the Year 2000 situation: computer programmers and lawyers. The IT professionals had a lot of code to rewrite to accommodate the Y2K date change, and the commercial attorneys had a lot of software agreements to rewrite to include disclaimers of liability for the big bang that never actually happened. While one might assume that the new daylight saving changes could provide a similar boost to these industries, it doesn’t appear to be happening to the extent of 2YK.
As a matter of semantics, it’s “Daylight Saving Time,” not “Daylight Savings Time.” Technically, nothing is “saved” and some argue that it should be called “Daylight Shifting Time.” But that special word “saving” is so much more politically pleasing.