It is unfortunate that some people in this country, more for personal than common interests, have started a campaign to change the standard time in use today. It is even more unfortunate that when Sir Arthur Clarke pointed out the fallacy of this move, they started questioning his qualifications, instead of responding to the points raised.
The handful of people who lobby for turning the clock back to the previous intricate GMT+5.30 standard, do not have a single logical reason perhaps except for their unwillingness to get up half an hour early in the morning.
Should we change the standard time of a country solely because few people find ?the mornings too dark?? Don`t we have any simple way of addressing the issue such as changing the starting times of schools than meddling with the standard time? For the benefit of the readers, let me make a few clarifications relating to this issue.
Is GMT + 5.30 the `actual` time in Sri Lanka?
No. According to its geographical position, the actual time in Sri Lanka varies from GMT+5.21 (in Colombo) to GMT+5.24 (in Batticaloa). So if we want to adopt the actual time it will be logical to adopt GMT + 5.21 as the standard.
If GMT + 5.30 is not suitable for us, why does India use it?
Unlike us, India has logical and historical reasons for using the GMT + 5.30 standard. It is the exact time of the Allahabad observatory. India is a large country that spans over more than one time zone. They adopted GMT + 5.30 standard because it is more or less the ?average? for them. However, Indians have modified their timetables accordingly. For example, towards the west coast of India, where they find `mornings too dark` schools begin at 10 am.
Do we save energy by using the GMT + 6 (current standard) rather than shifting back to the old standard of GMT + 5.30?
Yes, of course. It has been estimated that if we shift back to the previous standard of GMT + 5.30, we will be spending 1% more energy per day for domestic lighting purposes only. This is because then we will be going to sleep half an hour later, and we all consume extra energy within that half an hour. Please note the additional amount of energy we spend in street lightning or in the commercial establishments like super markets have not been taken into account for this calculation. In other words, the additional amount of energy we spend will be even more.
Is 1% of the daily energy consumption significant?
It amounts to an aggregate of 1 million units. According to CEB, the domestic ?small? category uses 1-90 units per month; So on an average basis, a house in this category uses 1.5 units per day ? enough to power 5 Nos. 60W bulbs and a television for 4 hours.
This means the 1% of electricity we lose by changing the clock can actually power over 60,000 small households.
How can that be, because if we change the standard time, we will save energy in the morning for a period of half an hour?
Yes, this has been considered during the estimation. However, according to the electricity consumption patterns in Sri Lanka, the amount we save in the mornings will be much less compared to the additional amount we might spend at night after the time change. This will be obvious if you have a look at the CEB load curves. You will see a small peak in the morning and a big peak at night.
If we save energy by changing the clock, why was it not ob-served in 1996 when we first changed the time?
The situation was different in 1996, compared to what we see today. Then only 50% of the households had electricity and the total consumption was around 3.7 GWh.
Today 70% of the Sri Lankan houses have electricity and the total consumption is more than 7 GWh. That means although we have not seen a drastic drop in the electricity consumption in 1996 when we changed the time, this time we will see a drastic increase in the daily consumption.
The bottom line is we will not only save the energy but also will not be termed as a country that changed its standards at the drop of the hat by simply following whatever the standard we follow now. Let us listen to Sir Arthur Clarke`s advice.
Note: The clocks change at midnight on April 14