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In Russia they proposed to return summer and winter hours: how will this affect the country’s economy

Date: April 17, 2024 Time: 22:55:59

Over the past two decades, Russians have managed to live with the translation of the clock hands twice a year, both according to constant summer time and constant winter time.

Photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN

Have you already forgotten how the clocks were translated twice a year – to summer and winter time? But in vain. A bill appeared in the State Duma, which proposes to return everything. The motivation is usual: “citizens are dissatisfied”: in many regions, in summer, the sun rises after midnight. In addition, the transfer of arrows in early summer time, according to the author of the initiative, the deputy chairman of the Committee for Regional Policy and Local Autonomy Mikhail Matveev, will save up to 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

Over the past two decades, Russians have managed to live with the translation of the clock hands twice a year, both according to constant summer time and constant winter time. These are almost all possible “games with time” that humanity has come up with so far. So how is it better?


If anyone has forgotten, we now live on constant winter time. We refused to transfer arrows back and forth in 2011. Then, during the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev, it was decided to switch to constant summer time. The innovation caused a lot of dissatisfaction: in several regions it was already dawning in winter in the afternoon. Therefore, in 2014, when Vladimir Putin became president again, everything changed again – they switched to constant winter time. But they did not return to the translation of the hands of the clock.

The abandonment of the seasonal change of the arrows was preceded by a heated discussion with arguments about how bad everything was… for people and the economy. The classic argument that went from speech to speech was the damage to agriculture. The unfortunate cows refused to be milked at odd times, after the clocks went forward or back an hour, and it took too long to switch to a new time. There were also problems with people, especially in the spring when you suddenly had to start getting up an hour earlier. Brrr!

Has it become easier for people and cows to live in the decade we live in without these horrors? Or is it true that in the face of the (holy, holy) crisis, the time change will allow us to save more energy?


Interestingly, with studies that summarize the experience gained since 2011, we are quite deaf. As the experts explain, in order to draw scientifically-based conclusions, it is necessary to carry out long-term studies in different regions, time zones and latitudes, with serious funding. And somehow it didn’t work.

But even with evidence of the economics of changing clocks to seasonal time, it’s still not very good.

– In 2008, the then-existing RAO UES cited data that the time change saves about 4.4 billion kWh of electricity per year. The number seems to be very large. But in relation to the total amount of electricity consumption, it was about 0.5% – a meager amount for our economy, says Vladimir Kovalev, an analyst at TeleTrade. – The same follows from the report on twenty years of research on annual electricity savings due to summer time, which was published in 2017 by the European Parliament. Savings, for example, in Italy amounted to 0.2% of total consumption, in France, 0.1%. Less is spent on lighting due to summer time, more on something else, for example, on air conditioning in workplaces.

As analysts explain, the use of arrows for economics arose at the time this idea appeared, and it has been discussed since the 18th century. But the more technological production and life become, the less meaning it makes. Most industries are now automated, many have a 24-hour mode, not tied to daylight hours. Yes, and energy saving technologies are being developed.

Take, for example, the figures known in Russia. Back in 1970, Soviet studies claimed that thanks to the transfer of arrows, the country saves 1% of electricity. By 2008, the savings had been reduced to 0.5%. Now, if we believe the figure of possible savings of 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours per year, which MP Mikhail Matveev operates, it will turn out … 0.2% (total electricity consumption in Russia in 2022 is 1105 billion kWh , in 2021 it was less).


But what about other factors? Happiness is not just about saving electricity.

– Traditionally, representatives of the retail, sports and tourism industries were in favor of the transition to daylight saving time. Agriculture and the entertainment industry were categorically against it, sums up many years of observation, a member of the General Business Council of Russia, the general director of the law firm Gebel and Partners, Sergey Gebel.

Here everyone has their own interests. For sports and tourism, of course, longer daylight hours are better in summer. And the entertainment industry advocates dark nights, so that potential customers do not walk down the street in a disorganized manner, but go to a nightclub or theater. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

And the human factor? Here, too, not everything is clear.

– For a person, the translation of arrows, of course, is harmful. It is comparable to so-called jet lag when flying between time zones. And the annual translation of the arrows creates a significant stress load on the body, explains to KP.RU Alexander Neverov, Doctor of Economics, Director of the Institute of Psychological and Economic Research. – And at the same time, the translation of the arrows gave more sunlight to people because their active day was spent to a greater extent than without translation, in daylight. And it is better for sleep and reduces the level of depression. But in any case, the translation of arrows for people’s health is worse than their absence. Yes, and for the economy – every year at the time of the change there were disruptions in work schedules, a decrease in efficiency and delays.

So what is the bottom line?

– A return to the translation of the arrows in the current technological conditions does not make much sense. Its influence in our time on the economy is so small that it can be neglected, – sums up Alexander Neverov. – But for the health of the people it is still better that they are not thrown away again.

In other words, according to experts, there are always advantages and disadvantages. And the closest thing to the “correct” time is the one we live in now. So stop worrying about this, it is better to save the economy by other, more modern methods.


Why do we have noon “out of place”?

And yet, there is truth in the arguments of the deputy Mikhail Matveev. The most physiologically correct time for a person, according to experts, is when 12 noon falls on astronomical noon. That is, when the sun is at its zenith. And 24 hours, respectively, in the middle of the night. Yes, in our latitudes the day is longer in summer, and very short in winter, but at the highest point the sun should still be at 12, and not at 11:30 and not at 2:00.

In most regions, we have complete disagreement with this. In Moscow, for example, the difference between a real noon and an “official” one is half an hour. And because of this, there is a feeling that the day is somewhere “out of place”. But it is clear that by moving the hands one hour back or forward, this problem cannot be solved – noon will still “not be there.”

What is the point then? And in the division into time zones, so not everything is “physiological” either. This topic was discussed very vigorously in Russia in 2011. If you remember, Dmitry Medvedev proposed to reduce the number of time zones in the country, for the convenience of the administration. And then, when it is noon in Moscow, in Kamchatka they are already sleeping, it is inconvenient.

Then the scientists were screaming indignantly: you can’t do this. And they brought their arguments. You can live more or less “according to the sun”, with the correct noon, if the breakdown by time zones goes every 15 degrees of longitude (in the latitude of Moscow and Kazan, 15° is a little more than a thousand kilometers). If these belts are wider, then for a part of the population the midday sun will be strongly “not present” and the biological rhythms of a person will be disturbed. The longitude of Russia from west to east is 171 degrees. This means that there must be at least 11 time zones.

The “Medvedev” division into 9 zones was canceled in 2014 along with constant daylight saving time – 11 time zones were returned. Where is the confusion then? And hence, the limits of the time zones do not go strictly along the meridians, but in accordance with the administrative division into regions. After all, if in different corners of one region or republic there are different times, you will agree, this is also inconvenient. And here, too, there are incidents. For example, there are only 4 degrees of longitude between Kazan and Izhevsk. And one hour of time difference.

How to make everything correct and convenient for everyone? There is no answer to this question yet.


Difficulties in translation

– In 2019, the European Parliament decided to abandon the transfer of clock hands to summer and winter time. The innovation was supposed to work from 2021. Before that, European countries had to choose for themselves who wanted to live according to constant time: winter or summer. As a result, a pandemic began, and European officials decided not to make any unnecessary confusion and leave everything as it is for now.

– Daylight saving time is still practiced in the US but not everywhere. Some states and in particular the Hawaiian Islands do not translate clock hands (the closer to the equator, the less sense in daylight saving time).

– China has an interesting experience. They refused not only to transfer clocks to daylight saving time, but also to time zones (although there were 5 of them until 1952). But, as experts explain, the time in an official uniform is difficult for transport (this is convenient) and industrial enterprises. Otherwise, the western regions of the country live according to their unofficial local time. Under it, the working hours of local institutions and shops have also been adjusted.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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