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When is Daylight Saving Time? Are we gaining or losing an hour?

As the days get progressively shorter the benefits of Daylight Saving Time lessen, so the bi-annual hour change is upon us once again. Here’s what to know…

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When is Daylight Saving Time? Are we gaining or losing an hour?
KEVIN LAMARQUE REUTERS

The official end to summer is a month in the rearview mirror but clocks are still set to make the most of those longer days now gone. That will change on 7 November as Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the US comes to an end for 2021 and clocks will be turned back an hour.

The vast majority of Americans and Canadians will ‘fall back’ at 02:00 on Sunday 7 November, meaning that clocks will turn backwards by an hour to 01:00. The shift is always done on the weekend to limit the amount of disruption caused, giving people an extra hour in bed.

Residents in some states will not be changing their clocks

There have been calls to end the practice of changing the hour twice a year, for the US the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November. 29 states have introduced legislation to do away with the twice-yearly switch, but the authority to do so has been under the Department of Transportation since 1966.

The only parts of the US that do not have DST are sections of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

Arizona experimented with the change beginning in 1918, but decided to permanently opt out of the Daylight Savings Time in 1968. Although the state observes Standard Time, the Navajo Nation, a Native American territory in the north-east of the state, which also crosses over into New Mexico and Utah, does make the twice a year time shift.

Hawaii is the only other state that currently doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time, along with the other US territories in the Pacific and Puerto Rico. Since they are close enough to the equator that there is no significant difference in sunrise and sunset times across the year there are no benefits from changing the hour.

Why we change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time

The first person credited with suggesting the idea of changing our clocks to take advantage of the longer summer days was Benjamin Franklin while he was living in Paris. But the man created with getting the ball rolling was a British builder named William Willett who suggested the idea to Parliament as a way for the nation as a whole to make better use of daylight.

However, Germany was the first to implement the practice of seasonal time changes, desperate to save energy during the First World War. The policy quickly caught on with most European nations the US and the United Kingdom along with its allies adopting the Daylight Saving Time by 1918. However many nations ditched the system in the years after the war only to adopt it again when there was a need to conserve energy.,

Does Daylight Saving Time really conserve energy?

The Daylight Saving Time is credited with reducing crime, people are doing activities in the daylight so there are less opportunities for criminals, and saving lives and preventing traffic accidents. However the primary reason for the twice-yearly shift comes from the energy savings it is purported to have. According to the US Department of Transportation study in 1975, the US experienced nearly a one percent daily savings on energy use during the yearly Daylight Savings Time period.

However, those findings have been contradicted by more recent analysis performed in 2006 when Indiana implemented Daylight Saving Time statewide, previously it had been in effect in just a few counties. Researchers found that residential energy consumption actually increased by around one percent. They ventured that although less lighting is needed that longer summer evenings caused a spike in AC usage.