Summer Time vs power consumption: Egyptians set to advance their clocks on Friday

Amr Kandil , Friday 19 Apr 2024

Next Friday, remember to set your clocks forward by one hour at midnight as Daylight Saving Time (DST), known as Summer Time in Egypt, returns for its second consecutive year.

File Photo: An oblique view of Egypt s Nile River and its Delta photographed from the International Space Station flying 255 miles above Egypt-Sudan borders at 1:00 AM local time. Photo: NASA


When DST is applied, Egypt will be in the GMT+3 timezone rather than GMT+2.

On 31 October, clocks will fall back one hour.

This marks Egypt's second year of observing DST after a seven-year hiatus, to conserve energy and reduce electricity consumption.

DST origin and how it works?

William Willet, a wealthy London builder, was the first to champion DST in 1907 to increase working hours.

During World War I, some countries, including Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and the United States, adopted Daylight Saving Time to save on fuel. During World War II, some nations applied DST to save on fuel.

Globally, DST aims to provide an additional hour of daylight, encouraging outdoor activities and reducing reliance on indoor lighting and appliances.

Confused? Let’s consider the typical eight-hour 9am-5pm workday. With DST, the sun will set around 7pm instead of 6pm. This means you will have two hours of daylight for activities after work instead of one.

Does it work?

DST is controversial, as experts hold differing opinions on its effectiveness.

When the government announced its plan in August 2022 to introduce DST, it defended the decision stating that it could help reduce power consumption by 10 percent.

Though Egypt initiated DST in April 2023, Egypt consumed record levels of electricity the following July, leading the country to suspend liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports over the summer to supply its power plants.

At the same time, the country began a load-shedding programme involving scheduled power cuts of more than two hours to save more gas.

Earlier this week, Egypt resumed the load-shedding programme in various governorates following nearly a month and a half suspension during Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr vacation.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in October that such cuts could save EGP 108 billion annually.

Egypt will likely halt its LNG exports again this summer amid increased local demand and a rise in temperatures, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla said in an interview with CNN Business Arabic in February.

El-Molla noted that Egypt’s natural gas exports hit $2.5 billion in 2023, a major decline from around $8.4 billion in 2022.

The government's power-saving initiatives, implemented last year, also include reduced street lighting, limited use of air conditioning in public institutions, and regulated lighting in large sports facilities.

Outside tourist areas, such as South Sinai and the Red Sea, power cuts are expected to last up to 135 minutes, according to an unnamed official from the Ministry of Electricity, as reported by Youm7.

On the other hand, some observers question the effectiveness of DST in achieving significant energy savings and note its potential to disrupt sleep patterns by influencing circadian rhythms.

Hani Al-Nokrashy, an international energy expert and member of the president's scientific advisory council, argues that DST increases air conditioning use.

Additionally, in 2016, the House of Representatives discontinued DST, citing studies showing its limited impact on electricity savings and its disruption of people's biological clocks.

In the same year, a public poll showed a majority did not support applying daylight savings time in Egypt.

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