Electricity consumption soars as Turkey ditches winter time: Association

Electricity consumption soars as Turkey ditches winter time: Association

ANKARA
Electricity consumption soars as Turkey ditches winter time: Association

Turkey’s electricity consumption surged sharply in November due to the country’s move to ditch the winter time system, despite a slight slowdown in the economy and moderate weather conditions, a sector association said Dec. 21. 

According to a new report by the Chamber of Electrical Engineers (EMO) on power consumption data from the Turkish Electricity Transmission Company (TEİAŞ), the country’s decision not to set its clocks back as usual led to a rise in electricity consumption, rather than planned energy savings. 

Turkey first adopted summer time, also known as daylight saving time, in 1940, and applied it uninterruptedly after the 1970s, following the example of Europe, until this year. Today the system is used across the 28-nation European Union.

The clocks did not, however, go back an hour for winter this year at the end of October, putting Turkey three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), ostensibly in a bid to make energy savings of up to 1 billion Turkish Liras. 

The country’s electricity consumption, however, saw a 6.5 percent year-on-year increase in November, a record high rise in the last five years, and rose to 22.7 billion kilowatt/hour, showed data. 

Turkey’s electricity consumption was 21.3 billion kWh in November 2015, 21 billion kWh in 2014, 20 billion kWh in 2013, and 20.3 billion kWh in 2012. 

“The annualized consumption also soared as the country did not shift to the winter hour system. While the electricity consumption was 221.2 billion kWh in the first 10 months of the year, this figure rose to 227 billion kWh in the same period of this year with a 2.63 percent of increase. The difference soared to 4.09 percent in the first 11 months of the year compared to the same period of 2015,” said the association, adding that this increase occurred despite warm weather conditions and a slowdown in the economic activity. 

The change in the decades-long practice triggered strong criticism, as the sun does not rise until almost 8:30 a.m. in western provinces like Istanbul, while many businesses need to work extra hours so as to coincide with Western partners. 

Turkey’s Energy Ministry is set to reassess its choice to ditch winter time, which has increased the country’s time difference with Europe amid a series of complaints from across Turkey about the darkness in the mornings.

A deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) submitted a motion to the Parliamentary Presidency for the launch of a commission to search for the economic and social impacts of the permanent summer time implementation. 

HDP Adana deputy Meral Danış Beştaş emphasized that the abrupt change had increased Turkey’s time difference with Western countries with whom it has close economic relations, Reuters reported on Dec. 22.