Antonovich wants sups to back effort to nix daylight saving time

Supervisor Michael Antonovich will ask fellow board members to support legislation that might end daylight saving time in California.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich will ask fellow board members to support legislation that might end daylight saving time in California.
Andres Aguila/KPCC

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich wants his fellow board members to support ending daylight saving time in California. Specifically, he's asking them to sign a letter in favor of Assembly Bill 385, which could keep California on standard time year round.

“At the time it was thought to have all these benefits that may or may not be relevant today,” said Antonovich spokesperson Tony Bell.

If Antonovich gets his way, the board will send a letter to the LA County legislative delegation in Sacramento urging them to support the bill.

If passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, AB 385 would put the future of daylight saving time before California voters. The last vote on the issue took place in 1949, when daylight saving time was approved.

Assemblyman Kansen Chu, who represents the 25th district in San Jose, put the bill forward citing public health concerns like increases in car accidents in the days following the time change. He also claims the supposed energy savings reaped by daylight saving time hasn’t borne out.

“Not only does it reduce total energy usage, it also evens out the energy usage over the day,” said David Prerau, a daylight saving time expert, “It’s called ‘peak shaving.’

According to Prerau, this is because the time change leads to changes in behavior which tend to result in less or more balanced energy use.

A 2008 Department of Energy study found a month long extension of daylight saving time reduced annual energy consumption by o.03 percent. Geographically, northern states benefit more than southern ones, mostly because of increased air conditioning.

Daylight saving time was started by the Germans during World War I. The idea was to conserve energy to aid the war effort. The tactic was soon adopted by America and Great Britain.

After the war, the British continued adjusting their clocks, but in America the practice was put on hold until the beginning of WWII. After the defeat of Japan and Germany, daylight saving time at the national level was again discontinued, however, it continued to exist at the local level.

“It was put in state by state, city by city,” said Prerau. “The cities and states put it in non-uniformly,” Prerau said.

The solution was a federal law passed in 1966 that set a national daylight  saving time. States had the option of adopting it, but if they did, they had to do it statewide.

The idea was to make sure uniformity existed between the states. This is something Prerau says would be effected if California were to ditch daylight saving.