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Daylight Saving Time Arrives Earlier than Usual

Daylight saving time, which usually begins the first week of April, will be start earlier by four weeks starting this year, due to federal legislation passed in 2005. Two authors examine the impact of advancing the start of daylight saving time.

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    Two years ago, Congress added a little-noticed provision to an energy bill to move up daylight saving time by three weeks, to early March. The country was given time to get ready, and now, this Sunday morning, clocks will, or should, change.

    Daylight saving time will also be extended a week in the fall. It's the first such move since 1986. The thinking: more sunshine means less power usage.

    But in an increasingly automated society, that little time change is causing big headaches. A wide array of handheld electronic devices, like BlackBerries and cell phones, were set for the original time change and need reprogramming.

    Companies are scrambling to update systems that control financial transactions, paycheck disbursals, power consumption, even meeting schedules. Apple and Microsoft have issued so-called "patches" that update systems for the change, and companies are working overtime to make sure the transition runs smoothly.

    All told, the effort may end up costing business as much as $2 billion. The question now: How much will it benefit the nation as a whole?