California to consider year-round daylight savings time |

California to consider year-round daylight savings time

Susan Wood

As California officials scramble for creative solutions to the energy crisis, a state senator is looking to save more than time come April 1.

Sen. Betty Karnette, D-Long Beach, wants approval from Congress to let California adopt daylight savings time all year to help conserve energy.

Daylight savings time runs in most states from the first Sunday in April, when clocks are moved ahead one hour, until the last Sunday in October, when they are moved back. Indiana, Arizona and Hawaii do not participate.

The federal Uniform Time Act of 1966 allows states to decline applying the daylight savings time change. It provides states with the option of practicing standard time year-round without federal approval, but not the reverse.

The essence of Karnette’s resolution revolves around holding off darkness for an additional hour in the evening and reduce peak demand for electricity, her proposal spells out.

Karnette points to federal studies indicating that daylight savings time can reduce energy consumption by about 1 percent each year.

The proposal, which has not hit the Senate floor yet, will make its way to the state legislature’s energy committee, a hotspot in California government these days.

“It’s an intriguing proposal, but we’ll have to see the full ramifications of it at legislative hearings,” State Senator Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, said.

The proposal had also gained interest from Leslie’s counterpart in the state Assembly.

Jim Cajol, spokesman for Assembly District 4 Rep. Thomas “Rico” Oller, R-San Andreas, agreed it’s an “interesting idea” worth reviewing. However, Cajol added the state would need to judge which would be the most active hour for energy consumption to determine the time shift.

Either way, the shift would bring an extra hour of daylight to the morning or afternoon. Moreover, the spring comes with more daylight anyway, so a shift in either direction won’t reduce or add daylight.

“It’s not only an energy issue (to consider). It’s a public safety issue,” Cajol said.

Karnette turned to other federal studies to show the streets are safer during evening commute hours, when there’s more daylight at the back end of the day.

Daylight savings time was used throughout the world in the 20th century to reduce energy during power scarcity. In the United States, it was used during World War I, World War II and the oil crisis of the 1970s.

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