Moving the clock ahead an hour for daylight saving time three weeks early could help shave peak power demand in California by 3% for the rest of March, although no one will know for sure if the federally mandated change will make any appreciable difference until more data is collected during the next three weeks, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced last Friday before the time switch.

Further energy savings is hoped for by staying on daylight saving time longer, pushing its suspension to Sunday, Nov. 4 instead of the usual last weekend in October.

The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) created the longer daylight saving program, moving the start to the second Sunday in March and extending the duration to the first Sunday in November under the belief that the clock switch saves energy. That contention has been around at least since Benjamin Franklin endorsed the practice, but the program wasn't made a national law until 1966.

"While definitive data still needs to be collected to determine how much, if any, energy is saved during this year's extended daylight saving time, the CEC estimates that there is a savings in electricity used during the peak of the day," the state commission said. "The peak electricity demand is estimated to decline by approximately 3% for the rest of March."

An analysis by the CEC that determined the 3% potential peak shaving is available on the commission's website (www.energy.ca.gov) under "2007 Publications."

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