Households “could save on energy bills if October clock change is scrapped”

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 tariffs.

Professor Foley comments: “By simply forgoing 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 forgoing 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% 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 great, great grandfather of Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who sang Clocks) initially proposed the daylight savings plan. It was then introduced in 1916 as a wartime 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.

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