Column: Ready or not, time to set your clocks back

Nov. 02, 2013 @ 01:46 AM

So Daylight Saving Time will end Sunday, and most of the country will return to standard time, which means for most you’ll now leave for work in a little light and return to your home in the dark.

So why does DST exist, and who does and doesn’t conform?

It started with Benjamin Franklin, who believed people could make better use of an extra hour of daylight. He just didn’t know how to implement the idea. But once a way was found, the world moved forward with the idea. Later they discovered there was an electrical savings as people used less energy on artificial light.

So what about today?

Since it is not federally mandated, not all states adopt DST. In fact Hawaii and Arizona don’t. Russia abolished it in 2011, and Japan hasn’t used for 60 years.

The savings have evaporated, especially in Southern states. Seems while we may use less electricity for lights, energy costs have risen because of increased use of air conditioning, and logically we use more AC in the South than in the North. Studies show the overall utility cost is higher.

Indiana was unusual in its use of DST because some counties complied and some didn’t. But in 2006 all counties started using DST, and studies show energy costs increased. California seems to benefit the most from DST. With the mild climate, people stay outside longer in the evening and use less energy.

Farmers have always liked the extra hour of daylight in the evening, but how many people make their living in agriculture today? Certainly not the same percentage as in the days of Franklin.

Health studies have also been done, and results are mixed. Some have difficulty adjusting to the change, while others have little or no problem adjusting.

Personally I prefer it lighter in the evening and dislike coming home in the dark. I’m one of those individuals who take months to adjust, so now my inner alarm clock will start ringing at 3:30 or 4 a.m. Well, hope everyone enjoys the extra hour of sleep.