A study by Queen’s University Belfast suggests people in the UK are unnecessarily spending extra money on their electricity bills by putting their clocks back in autumn. The extra amounts customers are paying equates to around £400 a year, or £1.20 a day.
During the winter, when the weather is colder, people naturally use more energy to heat up their homes. Professor Aoife Foley from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast has suggested the UK government should propose a temporary abolishment of Daylight Saving Time for this year to help people save money on their energy bills.
Daylight Saving Time was initially created in 1907 and introduced in 1916. It was devised to help reduce energy consumption during World War One. However, some audiences feel the concept is outdated and irrelevant in the modern world.
Others, on the other hand, believe scrapping Daylight Saving Time would create problems. For instance, they believe it would increase the number of vehicular collisions on roads and it would also create time zone issues in Ireland - with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland effectively operating in two different time zones.
Despite this, Professor Foley notes most vehicular collisions are not caused by poor lighting - she says that tiredness, poor speed regulation and alcohol are the biggest causes of crashes on the road. Additionally, she says the problems with Ireland’s time zones could be fixed if the UK’s and Ireland’s governments could reach an agreement on the matter.
Professor Foley said: “By simply foregoing 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.”
The clocks are set to go back this weekend. At 2am on Sunday, (October 30), people in the UK will need to put their clocks back by an hour to remain consistent with the rest of the country.