Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 3, 2012

That time again: Set clocks back to Eastern Standard

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — While the majority of residents in the two Virginias will sleep through the time change tonight, a select few will clock in an extra hour to their day.

Clocks will have to be set back one hour to return to Eastern Standard Time, which officially occurs at 2 a.m. Sunday in accordance with federal law.

Mercer County 911 Director Robert Hoge said dispatchers on the night shift will have an extra hour of work Sunday due to the time change.

“Our night shift folks will get an hour of overtime,” he said. “Fortunately, our equipment fixes itself. Our clocks synchronize with a GPS satellite, so our computers know when the time changes. All of the equipment automatically synchronizes to the right time. We’ve had that equipment in place for around 10 years now, though we did have to reprogram our equipment a few years ago when they moved the time change back a week.”

Hoge said the time change makes it possible for some interesting records on dispatch logs.

“It is possible for us to dispatch a call at 1:55 a.m. and for the person to arrive at 1:05 a.m.,” Hoge said. “We know what it means, though it does look strange in our records. Fortunately, not a lot happens that early on Sunday mornings, so I don’t think that issue has come up in the past 18 or 19 years. The reverse will be true in the spring. You could have someone leave at 1:55 a.m. and arrive an hour and ten minutes later. Of course, our logs show if the time is daylight saving time or Eastern Standard Time.”

Sgt. D.W. Miller, commander of the West Virginia State Police detachment in Princeton, said his officers will be out for an extra hour of patrol Sunday.

“It’s just a fact of life we have to deal with,” he said. “It’s just another hour we have to work. Sometimes, we let the guys who work that shift come in a little later for their next shift. Of course, most of the time the guys who will work this shift will work the same shift when the time changes in the spring, so they will get back that hour they lost.”

Miller said having an extra hour in the day can present problems.

“It’s an extra hour for clubs and bars to be open,” he said. “It can be a hassle, but we work through it. That early on a Sunday is usually not very active, but it does put our officers on duty longer. It does look a little strange on our paperwork.”

Daylight saving time was created in 1918, but was abolished after the end of World War I. Daylight saving time was again adopted for World War II, but no uniform standard of time change existed until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966, establishing that all clocks would be changed at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in April and last Sunday in October.

The daylight saving period was extended in 2007 through the Energy Policy Act of 2005, changing the time change dates to the second Sunday in March and first Sunday in November.

— Contact Kate Coil at