Rabat - Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani has said the government does not intend to reverse its decision to stay on Daylight Saving Time year-round.
While acknowledging that the decision has some negative impacts, El Othmani said the government made the decision to reduce energy consumption.
At Parliament, El Othmani said on Monday that the government knows that the change was “confusing and harmful.” He added that the effects of time change are limited to one week or the first 10 days.
He said that the government knows that there are many people who are against the decision. However, he said it would be “risky to go back to Standard Time, because we want to ensure sustainability in the supply of electricity.”
Amid criticism, El Othmani said that the government wants to “prevent our plants from buying surplus fuel and additive expenses by buying electricity from neighbors.”
He asserted, “The electricity supply must be continuous all day long and throughout the year, but in the summer, we have a peak in electricity consumption that poses risks … and that can sometimes lead to power cuts.”
El Othmani added that the only solution is to stay on DST to “prevent this from happening, we use summer time to ease the pressure … as the statistics show that in the last three years, there has been a steady rise in energy consumption.”
El Othmani claimed that DST will save Morocco MAD 240 million annually.
He told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) that the government “attentively follow’s the public’s opinions” on staying on the DST.
During his statement to the press, El Othmani continuously repeated that the government is aware of the anger and dissatisfaction of citizens regarding the move. However, he said that the move will end confusion among citizens. “People have expressed dissatisfaction with the change of time four times a year, which causes a lot of confusion.”
The government did little to alleviate confusion when it cancelled the time change back to Standard Time less than two days before the switch was set to happen. People were more confused about the government’s about-turn decision than the seasonal time switch from DST to Standard Time.
As of Tuesday, clocks set by the internet are still showing Standard Time (GMT) instead of remaining on DST (GMT+1).
He continued that the change will be accompanied by several measures. The changes started with the new timetable for school children.
“The first impact is on children going to school early in the morning,” he said.
Because of the later sunrise, instead of 8 a.m., children will go to school at 9 a.m. and will have to go back home at 1 p.m. instead of 12 noon. Students will have a one-hour lunch break instead of the traditional 2-hour lunch break.
Morocco will still make two-time changes per year. El Othmani said that Morocco will go back to GMT over Ramadan. Morocco used to change time four times a year.
Traditionally, the government announces the change to Standard Time at the end of October. Moroccans go back to DST again in March. When Ramadan falls in the summer, Morocco goes back to Standard Time again for five or six weeks. After Ramadan, Moroccans switch back to DST again.
The abrupt decision to remain on DST has caused confusion and anger. Informal online polls by Moroccan news outlets, including Morocco World News, showed that the majority of voters were against the decision.