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United States Government Politics

Daylight Saving Change Saved No Power 766

Posted by kdawson
from the pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later dept.
Brett writes "Results from energy companies are coming in, and the word is that moving Daylight Saving Time forward three weeks had no measurable impact on power consumption. The attempt by the US Congress to make it look like they were doing something about the energy crisis has been exposed as the waste it is. But the new DST is probably here to stay — letting the bill expire would mean re-patching a lot of systems again next year. So much for saving energy."
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Daylight Saving Change Saved No Power

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  • But...but.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:04PM (#18594403) Homepage Journal
    But, the DST change was one of the ONLY things they could agree on!!!!
    • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:17PM (#18595831) Homepage Journal
      Everybody knows that this was an unusually bright winter. I wonder why you never hear about the problem with Global Brightening?
  • Quit'cher Bitchin' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by duerra (684053) * on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:04PM (#18594407) Homepage
    Look, I understand people that want to take a stab at the administration - Bush's administration has done far more harm than good, but come on - bashing like this summary is just not necessary. This was a widely supported idea beyond just the US - a number of countries followed suit in the idea. At the very least, it didn't HURT anything - so why bitch about it so much? Oh well, you had to patch your systems. It's over and done with. No need to try and make this into a "prime opportunity" to bash the administration for at least trying. There's plenty of other things to gripe about when it comes to this administration - learn to pick your fights, otherwise you just end up looking like a giant douche.... or a turd sandwich.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by qwijibo (101731)
      You must work for a small company that takes part in reality if you already did the patching. There was no compelling business justification for patching the systems, so failing to get rid of the change means it remains on the eternal todo list, right next to backups. The joys of administering systems for a large bank.
    • by MeanderingMind (884641) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:10PM (#18594537) Homepage Journal
      Actually, it's arguable it did hurt a number of things.

      1) A significant amount of manpower had to be expended in order to assure that the computer systems across the world supporting this change were ready for it.

      2) A number of home and business computer systems alike failed to change, sometimes resulting in mischeduled meetings and moderate confusion.

      3) Congress wasted time on this bill that could have been spent getting something important done, such as finally hammering out a definate government policy on Stem Cell research, abortions, or actually making a true impact on the energy issue we face.

      Time and money were wasted, for an energy revenue of nil. It may not have increased energy costs, but costs in general were incurred.
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <`ten.yxox' `ta' `nidak.todhsals'> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:30PM (#18594997) Homepage Journal
        3) Congress wasted time on this bill that could have been spent getting something important done, such as finally hammering out a definate government policy on Stem Cell research, abortions, or actually making a true impact on the energy issue we face.

        See, that's the glass-half-empty talking. Just look on the bright side: When they were wasting their time turning out this ridiculous waste of time and paper, it meant that they weren't really screwing anything else up!

        Please, Congress, do us all a favor: spend your time on things like creating new "National $FOO Week"s. What -- there aren't any free weeks left? Okay, I've got one: why don't you guys try to fix the date of Easter? I'm sure that won't take you too long.

        The more idiotic, banal stuff that I know the Congresscritters are doing, the better it makes me feel, because at least I know they're staying out of trouble. It's when they go quiet for a while that I start to worry. The further away they stay from the "real issues," the happier I am. As absolutely fucked as the system we have is, don't you even think for a moment that with hard work and diligence, they couldn't make it at least ten times worse.

        Congratulations, Congress, on your brilliant plan. By all means, keep up the great work.
      • by raehl (609729) <raehl311&yahoo,com> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:40PM (#18595193) Homepage
        Congress wasted time on this bill that could have been spent getting something important done, such as finally hammering out a definate government policy on Stem Cell research, abortions

        Yeah, because Congress totally would have accomplished something on THOSE deadlock issues....
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by 2short (466733)
        "Congress wasted time on this bill that could have been spent getting something important done"

        Dude, this is the previous (Republican controlled) Congress we're talking about. They spent the vast majority of their time on vacation. They convened for fewer days than any Congress in a hundred years. I suppose they could have used the time spent debating this bill to do something meaningful, but they weren't exactly hurting for time.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ElectricRook (264648)

          They convened for fewer days than any Congress in a hundred years.

          You say that like it's a bad thing...

          Congress _not_ imposing their personal culture (lawyer culture at that) on folks living 3K miles away is a much better thing.

    • by Giolon (1006069) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:11PM (#18594547)
      It didn't hurt anything? My "automatic" clock that I bought a few years ago is now worthless. It's supposed to automatically change based on the old DST schedule. Now, I have to manually turn it ahead myself, then a few weeks later, remember to manually turn it back because it automatically went forward on the old scehdule. Ditto for the fall. It's obnoxious. The government owes me a new automatic clock.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MindStalker (22827)
        Same here, remembered about it on the new DST change. But was confused when it suddenly jumped an hour forward this Sunday. An no way to patch the sucker. Strange thing is its "Automatic Time Setting" seems to be some sorta trick. Pull it from the wall, replug, and it "automatically" sets it to the wrong time..
      • Modded funny? (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheDarkener (198348) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:23PM (#18594855)
        If I had mod points, I'd mod Informative!!

        Seriously, this "useful" change was nothing but a waste of time, AND clocks. All those clocks/devices that automatically change according to the standardized time? Useless. Software patches? Quite impossible for most.

        Looks like the waste management facilities will see a rise in borked electronics because of this - and that does precisely 0 for the environment, too.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by qwijibo (101731)
          I'm going to start a charity to collect these DST impaired clocks. You can ship me your clocks and I will distribute them to chronometer-impaired individuals throughout the non-DST observing state of Arizona.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            Are you serious? Because my wife has one of these clocks by her bed. I can't bear to hear her complain about the wonderful 109th Congress four times a year.

            These people in Arizona are going to have NO EXCUSE for oversleeping with all the used alarm clocks they're going to get.
        • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:34PM (#18595095) Journal
          I'm a lobbyist with the North American Automatically Time Changing Clock, Watch and Timepiece Manufacturers Association and we paid good money to have this bill passed so that we can sell more automatically changing clocks, watches and timepieces.

          Record profits this year, my friend, record profits. You should have invested in manufacturers of automatically changing clocks, watches and timepieces.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by 511pf (685691)
            I'm also lobbyist - with the North American Pro-Obesity, Chocolate Loving Candy Manufacturers Association and we paid good money to have this bill passed so that Halloween will have an extra hour of daylight this year.

            Record profits this year, my friend, record profits. You should have invested in manufacturers of chocolate, bon-bons and candy-bars.
          • I'm a lobbyist with the North American Automatically Time Changing Clock, Watch and Timepiece Manufacturers Association...

            ...or "TIMEBLA"...

            --Rob

      • Re: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:23PM (#18595941)
        It would be better to switch back. Why? Because there are unfixed errors in a lot of software that are still causing problems. For the fixed bugs, well, those can be "unfixed" if they were fixed in the first place. It isn't too late to switch back.
    • Are you high? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ObiWanStevobi (1030352) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:11PM (#18594555) Journal

      First of all, this is a move by congress, no one is bashing "The Administration"

      No harm, no foul, huh? How about the time it took to patch my file transfer program. I'm sure my employers don't appreciate the extra money spent. Not to mention tying up our IT staff trying to get time clocks/etc. fixed when the Windows patch f#$%ed up the time then fixed it again two days later. There's two days of pay for the IT staff, not to mention lost time where other things didn't get fixed.

      And it's us who look like giant douches for complaining?!!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GrayCalx (597428)
        And it's us who look like giant douches for complaining?!!

        No, you don't look like a giant douche for complaining. I think the original poster was responding more to the tone of the summary which seemed... angry that they even attempted something to conserve energy.

        I don't think its a liberal/conservative thing, but I do think its a great example of you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't for the government. Had they not changed DST after it was proposed the environmentalists (or rath
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by edwardpickman (965122)
      The reason is it's yet more proof it's a do nothing Congress. Even when they do something it has no positive effect. Business sees energy reform cutting into their short term bottom line and that's all most care about so don't expect Congress to get off their asses anytime soon. Alot of the changes will save money over time but it'll cut into their short term profits so they are seen as a bad thing. Any time you do anything some one isn't going to like it so Congress has taken the stance of simply doing not
    • by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:33PM (#18595061) Homepage
      This was a widely supported idea beyond just the US - a number of countries followed suit in the idea

      A number of countries followed suit out of necessity to stay synchronized with U.S. businesses, rather than because of any particular support for the idea.
    • by debest (471937) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:33PM (#18595075)

      This was a widely supported idea beyond just the US - a number of countries followed suit in the idea.

      I've checked Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], and I didn't see much of any countries that have followed the USA on this initiative other than Canada. Even Mexico didn't follow (assuming the ariticle is accurate).

      I live in Canada, and I can tell you that we followed out of economic necessity, and no other reason. Our economy is so tied to America (in terms of cross-border business) that we realistically had no choice. But we certainly don't like it, especially those further north: with the pushing of the clock so much earlier this year, people were heading to work and kids were walking to school in pitch-black darkness again.

      And, of course, we had the same PITA tech issues with the time change the Americans had. For Canadians in general, the negatives of this change outweighed the positive by a long shot.
  • Shocked (Score:3, Funny)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:05PM (#18594417) Journal
    I thought feel-good legislation always worked. :-/
    • I'm not suprised. DST is a very bad idea. All that extra sunshine makes it hotter. This burns the lawn and means you need more air conditioning.

      On the flip side though, all the exta sunshine makes crops grow better so it should make farmers happier!

      • by eln (21727) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:33PM (#18595065) Homepage
        Speak for yourself. I've been saving daylight for decades, and I've had enough. My whole garage is filled with jars of daylight. The last thing I need is MORE daylight savings.

        Sure, I could put all of that daylight into a Daylight Savings Bank, but I don't trust those guys. I don't need some big corporation earning fat interest loaning my daylight out to other people and giving me a 0.4% APR on it.
  • Fine by me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by garcia (6573) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:05PM (#18594429)
    Reuters spoke with Jason Cuevas, spokesman for Southern Co. power, who said it plainly: "We haven't seen any measurable impact."

    While I had no doubts in my mind that this wouldn't save a dime, I'm still pleased with the fact that because I work 9:30 to 6pm I see daylight on my drive home three weeks earlier than usual. For me, I'd prefer it's this way all year long but I don't have kids that ride a school bus (isn't that the main reason they claim we do this in the first place?)

    • Re:Fine by me... (Score:5, Informative)

      by General Fault (689426) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @06:35PM (#18596905)
      The people that know the most of anybody on the planet about forecasting the effects of DST sit about 20-50ft from me. We develop software that is designed to predict electrical and gas usage based on factors such as weather, time of day (including DST), holidays, etc. I wish they had asked us our opinions or at least used our software to forecast the effects of their new policy before enacting it. You see, DST was designed before A/C was in widespread use. DST saved electricity by shifting working hours into more daylight. However, with the advent of huge A/C and heat-pumps deployed in every office, factory and store in America, DST now shifts the workday into hotter hours. As a result the DST effect has slowly dwindled (with a little work I could tell you just how much it has dwindled), and will soon reverse. The new DST times are more than likely to accelerate the problem.
  • alternatively... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boarder (41071) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:07PM (#18594451) Homepage
    ... we can just get rid of DST altogether, since it has been shown to not do dick except annoy people and cost companies money in IT time.

    Keep it summer time year round if you ask me.
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @07:00PM (#18597197) Journal
      alternatively...we can just get rid of DST altogether, since it has been shown to not do dick except annoy people and cost companies money in IT time.

      Getting rid of it altogether requires far less IT effort than moving it. Most systems can just be configured to run on standard rather than auto-daylight time. The rest you can just strip it out - much easier than putting it in or tweaking it every time the legislature gets another hive of bees in their bonnets.

      Staying with DST means a major ongoing hassle for any new scheduling application. Do you have any IDEA what a pain it is to program those with DST changes? *I* do: I had to do it for a client. What do you do with the 25 hour day - especially the hour that happens twice? What do you do with the 23 hour day?

      I hear the railroads handle it like this:
        - In the spring all the trains are suddenly an hour late, and try to make up the time over the next day.
        - In the fall they actually STOP them and let them SIT for an hour.

      I hear the worst day for commuter traffic deaths is the first Monday of DST. (It's rush hour with ALL the drivers jet-lagged simultaneously.)
  • by CrazyTalk (662055) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:09PM (#18594507)
    Just two quick examples of the COST of the change, due to lost productivity - I live in the Eastern US, and someone in Ireland missed a conference call with us because everyone on both sides of the Atlantic thought that Ireland was always 5 hours ahead (for some reason, people found it impossible to fathom that this wasnt the case if we changes our clock and they didn't, but whatever). Example number two - a contractor in brazil was going to take down our servers at 5:00 EDST but actually took them down at 4:00 since they didnt know about the time change.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by krlynch (158571)
      I live in the Eastern US, and someone in Ireland missed a conference call with us because everyone on both sides of the Atlantic thought that Ireland was always 5 hours ahead

      Even before this change, there was a difference in the start dates of Daylight Saving and Summer Time across the Atlantic; for the last decade, it was a one week difference at the start. Before then, all hell broke loose across Europe, as different countries started and ended at different times. Most of the world outside Europe and No

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by curunir (98273) *
      The Brazil example is a good illustration of what makes the DST change so annoying.

      I live in California, so I'm on pacific time. Brazil's major cities are, IIRC, two time zones ahead of eastern time. So if I know the time in California, how do I figure out the time in Brazil? Well, I have to know what day of the year it is. It's 5 time zones ahead of me, but it can either 5 hours ahead during the times of the year when the US has switched its time and Brazil hasn't yet switched theirs. Or it can be 4 (US su
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:09PM (#18594509)
    $200/hr * 20 * 8 clients = enough cha ching to enjoy this crap.
  • by Alaren (682568) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:09PM (#18594519)

    Remember, we don't elect representatives to actually fix things. We elect them to "Do Something(tm)."

    Actually fixing problems requires understanding those problems. For that matter, it requires some agreement on what actually constitutes a problem (as opposed to what will appease the masses, or what will attract the most press). When your enfranchised populace is largely well-fed, entertained, and more or less free to do as they please, you don't address real problems, you invent illusory ones. Because fixing the real problems would threaten the the status quo.

    The U.S. is in the grip of statism: we're too quick to say "there ought to be a law!" Our leaders oblige, usually without worrying about the consequences.

  • Fuel Usage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:11PM (#18594565) Homepage
    I remember a local news story the week of the 11th stating that there was actually an increase in gas use after the DST change because people were driving more now that it stay light out later.
  • by ccbutler (840014) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:14PM (#18594613) Journal
    Water utilities claim there was no measureable impact to water consumption after their "hold your pee in for an hour before going to the bathroom" campaign wrapped up last weekend, in an effort to minimize water consumption and save the planet of resources. =P
  • by HungWeiLo (250320) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:14PM (#18594627)
    When I had to switch my clock back on Ubuntu (the timezone fix did not make it in the apt-get updates somehow), my makefile on my hour-long build project refused to build (citing misalignment of the timestamps of the files). So I had to delete all my files and fetch them all again after I put the clock back to the way it was before.

    After that, I turned on my amp and surround sound system and watched a movie during lunch while blasting away the AC because I got so hot from all the work.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:14PM (#18594629) Homepage
    ...and I'm all for it!

    This DST2007 thing has been a real pain in my ass. I know that the US government hates to admit failure, so we won't leave Iraq and we won't back off on DST2007... wish we would though. It has caused a lot of problems.
    • This DST2007 thing has been a real pain in my ass.

      There is a lot of firmware that has not been patched or acknowledged due to low priority.

      I have a Linksys wireless router. Due to the difficulty getting kids offline to get ready for bed, I use the scheduler in the router to drop the connection. No nagging, begging for 5 minutes more 30 minutes later, etc.

      A week before the time change, I downloaded the latest firmware update and installed it.
      The changelog made no mention of the DST change so I checked the
  • by rodney dill (631059) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:24PM (#18594889) Journal
    I used my saved energy as a carbon offset to burn additional energy.
  • Prior experience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asackett (161377) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:31PM (#18595037) Homepage
    What amazes me about the whole thing is that nobody bothered to look back to 1973 when Nixon did essentially the same thing. No energy was saved then, either.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:55PM (#18595459)
    Companies used to mostly work 9-5 (or 8-5).

    Now, our company works from 7am to 7pm (9 hour shifts w/ hour lunches).

    Basically, if you get up early, you take a 7am shift- if you get up late, you take a 10am shift.

    I don't see why they can't leave the clocks alone and places will just shift their hours if it matters.
  • end DST (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrtexe (1032978) * on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:11PM (#18595745) Journal
    A web site said it better than I could:

    STANDARDTIME.COM SAYS: If we are saving energy let's go year round with Daylight Savings Time. If we are not saving energy let's drop Daylight Savings Time! [standardtime.com]

    Enough of this daylight time, reset-the-clocks insanity. Just stop the madness.

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:18PM (#18595837) Homepage
    The mass media seem to omit the names of the Congress members responsible for this fiasco. Here are the names from their own boastful press relese [house.gov]:
    • Fred Upton (R-MI)
    • Ed Markey (D-MA)
  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:21PM (#18595901) Journal
    That's right. The Sun burned up just as much fuel after daylight savings was introduced as it did before. Lawmakers are baffled.
  • by rbrander (73222) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @07:52PM (#18597807) Homepage
    I couldn't handle reading 300 posts, but I did search the whole topic for the word "peak" and nobody at 2+ used it. So here it is: we had a local news article in Calgary about the lack of change in TOTAL consumption,( just as many lights on in the AM as off in PM) but that it was good because it shaved the PEAK CONSUMPTION.

    People use the most energy right after they get home from work, basically; TV, computers (like me right now), cooking and other household operations.

    Removing added lighting needs AT THAT TIME reduces the maximum generating capacity you need available to meet the peak demand. Which means they build a new power plant for your area in 2014 instead of 2012, or whatever. The time-cost of money means real savings on your power bill - even at constant total kWh consumed.
  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @09:46PM (#18598723) Homepage Journal
    Rather than bother with the patch, we simply took this opportunity as a sign that we ought to change our system clocks to GMT. Many benefits:

    * Systems that dual-boot windows and linux no longer make oopses with DST transitions

    * our company does more and more projects across different timezones across the country and internationally, and it gets real confusing real fast to have everything in Eastern, Pacific, Arizona (they don't observe DST), Melbourne, and the UK.

    * we're an aviation company, so most of us are already used to it

    * most of our computers are on closed networks anyway

    So Congress is really doing us a favor by driving us towards a global economy with a common accessible timebase already established for maritime and aviation uses. Even if that's not what they intended :P But Congress works in mysteerious ways... (we have to try to assume, because admitting they're dumb just sucks for everyone :P )

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