Sunday October 31st, we switch to winter time. At 3am it will be 2am. That’s one hour more of sleep, but in this season the days are getting shorter. The time change exists for this extra hour of sleep that saves us energy. Contested for a long time, the time change is no longer popular. Back on a controversy that is not ready to be extinguished…
It is 5 o’clock, Paris wakes up…
It would be daylight from 5am to 9pm in summer if we stayed on winter time. Contrary to the famous lyrics of Jacques Dutronc’s song, few people get up at 5am, even in Paris. It is not to waste light, hence the idea of shifting the legal time of sunrise as winter approaches. This is the logic of the time change that awaits us on Sunday, October 31.
In order to save light and especially electricity, the legal time is set ahead of the solar time. In summer, this schedule allows us to benefit from daylight from 6am to 10pm.
Oil shock and incandescent lamps
After the 1973 oil crisis, energy saving became a priority for western countries. Incandescent light bulbs, which consume a lot of energy, were a major source of consumption at the time. Introduced in 1976, the summer time as we know it today is the consequence of the oil crisis and energy-consuming lighting methods.
In the LED era, lighting no longer weighs as heavily in the energy mix. The economic argument loses its importance in view of the secondary effects of the time change : rhythm shift for the elderly and children, effect on health and efficiency at work… The consequences of the time change could be more important than the direct savings.
The government wants to set the record straight
In France, the public survey that ended in March 2019 delivers a clear result. 80% of the 2 million participants want to stop the time change. It remains to synchronize the time with our neighbors who also change time twice a year. The subject is European.
The controversy is not exhausted and will undoubtedly lead to new discussions. Indeed, after the choice of a constant time all the year, it remains to choose a time, the one of the sun (GMT+0), the winter time (GMT+1) or the summer time (GMT+2). We still need to be patient before we know the time of the future.
But the present time will change on Sunday, October 31st. So take your watches and let the light be!