Power Grid Not Stable Enough Disrupt Clocks

My father emailed me a story over the weekend that brings up concerns that some devices with clocks that keep time based on electric current might not keep accurate time in the coming year.

A yearlong experiment with the electric grid may make plug-in clocks and devices like coffeemakers with programmable timers run up to 20 minutes fast…

…Since 1930, electric clocks have kept time based on the rate of the electrical current that powers them. If the current slips off its usual rate, clocks run a little fast or slow. Power companies now take steps to correct it and keep the frequency of the current — and the time — as precise as possible…

…East Coast clocks may run as much as 20 minutes fast over a year, but West Coast clocks are only likely to be off by 8 minutes. In Texas, it’s only an expected speed-up of 2 minutes.

“Is anyone using the grid to keep track of time?” McClelland said. “Let’s see if anyone complains if we eliminate it.”

They will and they should, timekeepers say.

“A lot of people are going to have things break and they’re not going to know why,” said Demetrios Matsakis, head of the time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government.

Full story here.


While we certainly don’t suffer the frequency of power outages my brother is experiencing in Asia right now, I do not think that anyone in the country is going to notice any negative affects considering power outages require you to correct the time already.

Add onto that our two time changes each year for Daylight Saving Time and this is really just funny.

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