And here is the summer time. This Sunday 31st March, at 2 o’clock in the morning, it will be 3 o’clock. Translate: it will advance our watches, clocks and alarms an hour. Understand: we will lose an hour of sleep – but gain an hour of light for summer evenings that we imagine already beautiful, necessarily. All of this, you may already know it. But were you aware that Overseas departments never changed time?
If France is preparing Sunday to go to summer time , the problem does not concern ultramarine territories, which never change time, an unknown feature that they have accommodated.
For the city, in any case, this Sunday 31st March, at 2 am, it will be actually 3 am. Saturday evening or Sunday morning (or Sunday afternoon, for late risers), it will be necessary to advance by one hour all that can be used to inform us on the subject – including the clock of the electric oven. But not the computers, smartphones and other tablets that themselves (for the most part) automatically settle on the right number – at the right time!
No time change for Overseas departments
The change of time was introduced in 1976 to achieve energy savings, in European latitudes where the differences in sunshine between summer and winter are significant. This is not the case for the majority of overseas territories.
“Our positioning close to Ecuador means that the length of the day varies very little,”explains Jean-Noël Degrace, head of the Météo France Antilles Guyane center. “We do not need to change the time to save energy […] Very few countries change time in the Caribbean, and those who do, like Haiti, it is often for reasons geopolitical or economic, or to be calibrated in other time zones, the United States for example. “
“For someone who lives in Europe, there is a big difference between summer and winter sunshine , “ adds Maurice Henry, head of the association Volcans and Planets in Martinique. “For us, there is no big difference between the sunset times of the different seasons. “
In Reunion either, no change of time, “because it’s useless,” says Jacques Ecormier, weather forecaster at Météo France. “The difference between summer and winter will be only one hour, one hour and thirty, it has no interest in saving energy,” he says.
The only exception is Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon: this territory of the North Atlantic changes its time twice a year, but according to Canada, because of its geographical proximity. This year, the inhabitants of this small archipelago have gone to summer time, three weeks before the metropolis.
New Caledonia has tried several times to change to permanent daylight saving time, but has always returned to its original time zone. In 2009, a petition from the collective “An hour of clarity and more” has collected 5,000 signatures, without success.
“We will never have long days to enjoy the sea or the shops leaving work,” said Danielle Chichemanian, instigator of the petition. For Martine Cornaille, president of the ecologist party Citizen Alliance for Transition, “the energy savings are illusory, because the peak of the morning annihilates the gain of the evening” .
The time of arrival and departure of the aircraft impacted
Main indirect consequence of the change of metropolitan time, the time difference of the Overseas with Paris evolves of more or less one hour, according to which one passes at the time of summer or winter time.
In the West Indies, the time difference with Paris evolves thus between -6 hours in summer, -5 hours in winter. For Joëlle Ramanick, who lives in Martinique, this poses some problems when she wants to call her daughter in Montpellier: “I have to count the hours and I wake up earlier also sometimes. […] It happened to me to call too late .
Gymnastics to which the Overseas seem accustomed. “Almost everything is done online, the time difference has very little influence on the state services , “ says one side of the prefecture Reunion.
André Néron, former director general of the services of the general council of Guyana, the main disadvantage mainly concerns “the time of arrival and departure of aircraft” towards the metropolis.
But for ultramarine companies, this time change “can impact the business” , especially in the case of telecommuting or remote maintenance, explains the Federation of Overseas Enterprises.
“As the economic model is still very dependent on the Hexagon, each company wants to have the widest range of hours of communication with Paris” , resulting in divergent interests between the territories, at the time when the MEPs voted for a deletion the change of seasonal time in 2021.
Thus, Guyana prefers that the metropolis remains in winter time (4 hours offset against 5 in summer), unlike Reunion which prefers summer time (2 hours against three).
In this island of the Indian Ocean, the passage of summer time in the metropolis is especially happy football fans. “It allows us to follow games an hour earlier. It’s better when you work the next day, “ smiles François, supporter of PSG.
Will it be our last time change?
No. The European Parliament approved Tuesday 26th March in Strasbourg the end of the change of seasonal time in the European Union, but the measure will not become effective in all countries until 2021 at the earliest.
The European Commission had advocated in September 2018 to end this system by 2019, a deadline already deemed premature by the Member States.
Each country will be free to choose the time it wants to keep, but Parliament calls for the creation of a “coordination mechanism” that seeks to harmonize time schedules across the Union. Member States have not yet made known their position.
Energy savings have been minimal and public opinion has become increasingly hostile to this system, as shown by a public consultation organized by Brussels in the summer of 2018.
Of the 4.6 million responses collected across the European Union, 84% requested a return to a single time in each country.