Clocks will advance one hour in most of Mexico at 2:00am tomorrow for the annual switch to Daylight Saving Time as debate over the pros and cons of the practice continues.
Summer time will remain in effect until the last weekend in October.
The only regions of the country that are not affected by the time change are the 33 municipalities that border the United States and the states of Sonora and Quintana Roo.
Daylight saving was introduced in Mexico as a power-saving measure in 1996 and, according to the Secretariat of Energy (Sener), it works.
At the conclusion of summer time last year, Sener said that turning the clocks forward an hour had prevented the emission of 548,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and generated savings for consumers of just under 1.4 billion pesos (US $73 million).
Ricardo Bernal Vargas, president of the Industrialists Association of Michoacán (AIEMAC), said in that state, average energy savings of 10% are seen during the summer time period, which can translate into significant financial savings for businesses.
He explained that the power savings mainly come from the reduced need to turn on lights during working hours.
Despite the benefits, a lot of Mexicans oppose the time change, including many who say that it has a detrimental effect on health.
Arguing for the elimination of Daylight Saving Time, Mexico City lawmaker Carlos Castillo Pérez said in February that people’s performance at work and school can be affected both by its commencement and its conclusion, contending that the time changes can cause extreme fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety and poor concentration “while the body adjusts to the new schedule.”
This week, the Mexico City Congress approved a motion to ask Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum to eliminate summer time in the capital, while the Baja California Sur Congress has sent a request to its federal counterpart to scrap the practice across the country.
Baja California Sur Deputy Perla Guadalupe Flores Leyva this week accused federal lawmakers of ignoring the request and said she had written to President López Obrador about the issue.
However, efforts to get rid of Daylight Saving Time are under way at the federal level.
Ruling party Senator Félix Salgado Macedonio presented a proposal late last month that seeks to revoke the presidential decree that allowed the time changes to occur.
“There is no data that supports . . . the argument that was initially put forward to establish the seasonal schedule nor sufficient evidence of the beneficial consequences of said schedule. On the contrary, there is evidence that proves [the time change] harms health and affects citizens’ daily lives,” his proposal says.
With López Obrador – a longtime opponent of the summer time regime — in office and the ruling Morena party and its coalition partners’ commanding a majority in both houses of Congress, the chances of Daylight Saving Time disappearing seem to be greater than at any time in the recent past.
But it could ultimately be up to the people of Mexico to decide summer time’s fate: López Obrador has floated the possibility of holding a national consultation on the matter.