Households could save on energy bills if October clock change is scrapped
Households could save £1.20 a day and more than £400 a year on electricity bills if clocks are not put back at the end of October, according to a Queen’s University Belfast expert.
The EU has been consulting for years on whether to forgo the annual shift in time. Professor Aoife Foley from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s, says we are now in “an energy war” and this administrative solution would dramatically reduce demand on the National Grid at peak times.
Professor Foley specialises in clean energy research. She says that there are definite savings to be made by scrapping daylight savings, the amount just depends on individual energy tarrifs.
Professor Foley comments: “By simply foregoing the winter Daylight Savings Time (DST) in October, we save energy because it is brighter in the evening during winter, so we reduce commercial and residential electrical demand as people leave work earlier, and go home earlier, meaning less lighting and heating is needed.
“We are no longer in an energy crisis in Europe but an energy war and dependent on weather conditions this winter it is very likely we may need to start rationing energy very seriously to avoid bigger energy issues in December and January when gas reserves start to run low.
“There is no doubt that by foregoing the daylight savings in winter we would save a lot of energy, reduce our bills and carbon emissions during this energy war, and especially during a cost of living crisis.”
Professor Foley has calculated this would flatten the evening peak curves on energy demand by up to 10 per cent if commercial demand is included.
During the winter, evening energy demand peaks between 5pm and 7pm and the National Grid may struggle with this. Professor Foley’s calculations do not include gas savings or electricity and gas in the commercial or industrial sectors but she says if they were included “there would be even more significant energy, cost and emissions reductions for hard strapped businesses and the public.”
Back in 1907, Willem Willet, a builder and interestingly the great, great grandfather of Chris Martin from Coldplay – who is well known for the song Clocks - initially proposed the daylight savings plan. It was then introduced in 1916 as a war time effort to reduce energy demand and help the war effort with earlier day light hours in the morning.
Since 2002, most countries in the European Economic Area adjusted their clocks on the last Sunday in March and October, but there was some variation.
Critics of scrapping daylight savings are concerned about road traffic collisions and there also would be time zone issues between the UK and Ireland.
Professor Foley says research shows that most road fatalities occur on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and that speed, tiredness and alcohol is an influencing factor.
She comments: “Most road collisions occur in good visibility during the day and outside of built-up areas.
“It would be great if the UK Government consulted with the Irish Government on an emergency proposal to abolish daylight savings this year. Obviously in Ireland two different time zones would be impossible but Ireland would also make energy and emissions savings and enhance security of supply.”
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