Industry Calls For Time Change To Be Abolished

Prague, Aug 31 (CTK) – The time rotation system with the alternating winter and summer time is an unnecessary relic of the past, Czech companies’ and energy utility representatives said today and backed the EC’s plan to propose the sytem’s abolition to the EP and EU member countries.


The Czech Chamber of Commerce said it clearly prefers the return to the conservative approach.


“The existence of the winter and summer time is a relic that has no place in a modern democratic society. A directive and centrally-imposed time change is an outdated and technocratic approach that has no real justification at present,” the Chamber of Commerce’s spokesman Miroslav Diro said.


The original reason for the introduction of the summer time, which was to save energy, is irrelevant now, and the time rotation tends to cause additional costs.


These costs concern not only the increased labour administration but also the increased occurrence of occupational injuries immediately after a time change. Furthermore, employees’ productivity drops as a result of their lower concentration and fatigue, Diro said.


All these costs largely exceed the energy saving effect, he added.


This opinion is shared by the Czech Confederation of Industry.


“From the industry’s point of view, this is not a topic at issue. Even big enterprises, including those energy-intensive such as steelworks and ironworks, operate nonstop on shifts regardless of the time changes…The abolition of the time rotation probably would not affect most industrial companies,” the Confederation spokeswoman Eva Velickova said.


Roman Gazdik, spokesman for the state-controlled giant energy utility CEZ, said that for several years now it has been impossible to prove any energy-saving effect of the summer time.


“Most probably, there is no such effect. The share of the electric power used for lighting has been declining, because power has been increasingly used in other fields. As a result, the share of the energy saved as a result of the time switch has also been declining. Before 1989, experts put it at 0.4 percent,” Gazdik said.


Karel Polanecky, an energy expert of the Friends of the Earth environmental movement, said he had focused on the issue in the past but found no concrete data on how energy is saved by the summer time.


“Previously, it might have been effective because the burden was spread better throughout the day, but it makes no sense any more with the present type of consumption structure,” Polanecky said.


Gazdik said energy utilities do not care about whether there is the summer or winter time or whether there is a time rotation system.


“The only thing that would make our life difficult would be if the time changes in the neighbouring states, with which our power grid is interconnected, occurred differently from ours. For the energy sector, the synchronisation of the summer and winter time introduction in Europe is important,” Gazdik said.


The EC promotes the abolition of the time change system based on a public enquiry in which 84 percent of the respondents supported the step. In Germany, for example, the public survey involved three million respondents. In the Czech Republic, their number was 64,000 and 83 percent of them voted for the abolition.


However, the numbers of respondents were quite low compared to the size of population. In Germany, they made up 3.79 percent of the population and in the Czech Republic they made up 0.59 percent.


In the Czech Lands, the summer time was first introduced during World War One, in 1915-16. The measure was reintroduced during WWII, in 1940 and remained in force until 1949. For the third time, it was reintroduced after an energy crisis in 1979.


Until 1995, the summer time in Czechia lasted six months. Since 1996, it has been extended to seven months in accordance with the EP and European Council’s directives.