Wednesday, March 22, 2000
Government decides, again, to implement
daylight savings time
By Mohammad Ben Hussein
AMMAN — The government's reverse decision to once again implement daylight savings time has left citizens in the dark.
The announcement that Jordan would return to the practice of daylight savings by moving clocks ahead by 60 minutes as of March 31, took many people by surprise after it had last year decided to permanently dispense with the seasonal time change.
“I could not believe my ears when I heard the news. Is it that difficult to choose between timesaving or not?” asked Hashem Jaber, an engineer at the Jordan Telecommunications Company.
While some citizens aired their irritation at the government for “waffling over adopting daylight savings time, others were pleased that the move would help them save energy and enjoy a few hours more sleep, and still others shrugged their shoulders saying it would make little difference.
Last March the government announced it had decided to abolish the practise and adopt the winter timing throughout the year, saying the decision was final, and that Jordan would adhere to the winter time all year round.
“Don't they have anything better to do than keep playing with the clock?” said Bassam Ali, a bank official.
If the decision poses simple inconveniences for the average citizen, consider the effect on airlines. For commercial carriers this off and on time changing poses significant problems to flight scheduling because all arrival and departure times must be altered.
“How can we inform our customers about the time changes? We don't even have their addresses,” one airline employee told the Jordan Times earlier.
Last year, the government said it based its decision to scotch the five-year-old daylight savings time on studies conducted by the Ministry of Energy and other independent institutions.
The reasoning behind the decision was that the studies found that summer daylight savings was not as economically efficient as it was once thought to be.
The studies showed that electricity consumption was trimmed by less than one per cent and thus saved JD300,000 annually.
“Time switching is not feasible for us,” said officials at the energy ministry last year.
But this year another ministry study produced different findings.
According to Minister of Energy Wael Sabri the “decision [to apply daylight savings] has many benefits, mainly it saves the amount of fuel needed to generate electricity.”
The new study showed that daylight savings time would save the country around JD500,000 a year.
But one citizen calculated his energy savings differently.
“If I wake up early, I go to bed early, which leaves me using the same energy, but at different times of the day,” said Samir Adel, a bank officer.
In 1996 the European Union standardised a EU-wide “summer period.” The EU version of daylight savings time runs from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October.
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