Friday, March 2, 2007 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Time Bandits

Daylight savings time begins early this year, setting off a mini-tech panic as IT-administrators across corporate America sweat out whether patches and other fixes will accomodate the new time fiat. Based on research on electricity use from the 1970's, Congress expects the time-shift to save an equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil per day. Assuming counter-factually that electricity use patterns are the same as they were in the 1970's, that amounts to a $6,000,000 per day energy savings based on a $60/barrel oil price. Times three weeks, that means there are expected savings of $126,000,000.

I wonder what the costs are to the IT industry, corporate networks and individuals in adapting to the new time? Given the direct costs, opportunity costs and the like, not to mention the costs of IT-failures based on the new rule, I would not be surprised if they offset the purported savings.

To make it worse, here is a paper from the California Energy Commission that questions whether there will be any meaningful energy savings, especially since the time-move occurs in March and November when peak electricity demand almost never occurs. If this is correct, then the cost benefit becomes even more dubious.

posted by Ray Gifford @ 1:09 PM | Economics , Electricity , Software