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Time to fall back
Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday

COVINGTON - Trick-or-treaters will get an extra hour of sleep tonight as daylight saving time ends Sunday.

The official change to standard time occurs at 2 a.m. Most folks opt to set their clocks back one hour Saturday night.

But why do we do this?

We have Benjamin Franklin to thank. The idea of daylight saving time was first conceived by Franklin when he was an American delegate in Paris in 1784. He wrote about it in an essay called "An Economical Project."

That's according to a history published by www.webexhibits.gov, a Web site funded in part by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute for Standards and Technology, Time and Frequency Division.

The idea did not came to fruition in America and many European countries until World War I, when there was an international effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power.

A law passed in 1918 established standard time zones and set a daylight saving time period. The law was so unpopular that it was repealed in 1919, but was kept in place as a local option for individual states and cities.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted a yearround daylight saving time, called "War Time" from Feb. 9, 1942, to Sept. 30, 1945. After that expired, states and local governments could once again choose whether to observe daylight saving time, which resulted in confusion, particularly for the public transportation industry.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 set a uniform daylight saving time to begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. Any state that wanted to be exempt could pass a state law to do so.

The law has undergone several amendments over the years, the most recent of which occurred in 2007, which set daylight saving time to being at 2 a.m. the second Sunday of March and end at 2 a.m. the first Sunday of November.

Some states and territories still do not observe daylight saving time. They are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

The main purpose of daylight saving time is to make better use of daylight, whether it's to enjoy long summer evenings or conserve energy, according to Web Exhibits.

In the average home, 25 percent of electricity is used for lighting and small appliances and is consumed in the evening when more families are home, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation study. By moving the clock ahead one hour, the amount of electricity is presumed to decrease. The study showed that daylight saving time trimmed the country's energy use by about 1 percent each day.

But another study by the National Bureau of Standards found that savings were less significant.

The advantages and disadvantages of daylight saving time have been argued since it was implemented, but unless Congress takes another look at the issue, everyone will need to keep remembering to "fall back" and "spring forward."

Covington resident Thelma Banks has her own internal conflict about the upcoming time change.

While Banks said she enjoys the long summer days, she's glad there will be more light in the morning hours now.

"My grandchild goes to school, and he waits for the bus, and I like for it to be light so I can see him. I think it's good for the kids who go to school," she said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: Change smoke detector batteries with clocks

COVINGTON - Fire officials are urging residents to change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when they set their clocks back one hour Saturday night.

"All of us have trouble remembering lots of things and this is a good way to make sure your house and family is protected," said Rockdale County Fire Chief Mike Lee.

For the past 22 years, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Energizer have promoted the "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" campaign, and more than 6,000 fire departments participate.

"Most everyone remembers to change their clocks, and the national campaign in cooperation with the International Association of Fire Chiefs has chosen this date to change the batteries in smoke detectors to make sure they're operational," said Covington Fire Chief Don Floyd.

The Covington Fire Department, Newton County Fire Service and Rockdale County Fire Department all offer free smoke detectors and installation serves to qualified individuals. For more information, call the CFD at 770-385-2100; NCFS at 770-784-2116; or the RCFD at 770-278-8401.