In an biannual ritual that sees us scurrying around the house fiddling with oven timers, boiler programmes and digital devices, the clocks are set to go forward this weekend, marking the beginning of British summer time. But why do we do this, and why will we have to do it all again come October? Here are six cool facts about daylight saving time (DST).
It was while riding his horse around the empty streets of London early one morning in 1905 that Willett happened upon the idea of the UK moving its clocks forward by 80 minutes between April and October, to better take advantage of available sunlight. Despite his best efforts, British Parliament consistently rejected the idea, and Willett died in 1915 before he saw his dream come to life.
On 30 April 1916, Germany adopted DST to conserve electricity. The United Kingdom followed suit some weeks later, and the idea of ‘summer time’ was born. Clocks were moved forward 60 minutes, though, rather than Willett’s awkward suggestion of 80.
In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, DST was implemented throughout Europe to help conserve fuel for national recovery and rebuilding programmes, but many countries later abandoned it again as DST became an unpleasant reminder of the war itself. France didn’t implement DST again until 1975, and only then because of a worldwide oil shortage which meant lighting reductions were necessary.
In 1968, the clocks went forward as usual in March, but didn’t return to Greenwich Mean Time in the autumn. In fact, they stayed one hour ahead until 1971 – a period called British Standard Time. This wasn’t the first ‘experiment’ of its kind, though. During the Second World War Britain adopted Double British summer time, with the clocks one hour ahead of Greenwich in winter and two hours ahead in summer.
By the early 80s, most countries within the EU were using DST, but they didn’t all have the same rules, which caused mayhem with transport schedules and communications. It wasn’t until 1996 that the EU standardised DST across the continent, and in 2000 an EU Directive was issued that said the last Sundays of March and October were to be the definite DST schedule days.
Daylight saving time is now implemented in more than 70 countries around the world, and while many have grown accustom to it and even benefit from the extra light (which means lower bills!), there are some that find the practice disruptive and unnecessary. Farmers, particularly in America, work by the sun, not the clock, and the shift in time can play havoc with their schedules. Proposals to extend, edit or even do away with the system are occasionally made in parliament, but with pros and cons on each side, the debate continues.
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1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount. All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas). All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
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33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.
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