Slow clocks are starting to pick up time

digital clock orange on black
Clocks will gradually go back to the correct time if left alone - but it could take until mid-May

Electricity supply problem is being fixed and spring equinox today means clocks will all go forward this weekend

Europe’s slow clocks problem is starting to be resolved and, as spring-time officially starts today with the spring equinox, electric clocks are starting to come back to the correct time.

However, it will take a few weeks to correct itself although householders will be correcting clocks manually at the weekend with the change to summer time on Sunday March 25.

A dispute involving formerly warring Serbia and Kosovo saw a reduction of electricity flowing into Europe’s synchronised high voltage electricity network and led to electric clocks across the continent running about six minutes slow.

Ovens, alarms, hi-fis and other electric non-battery clocks have been running slower for several weeks as they keep time using the frequency of the electric current and count the pulses, normally 50 Hz, but the supply problems saw this running less fast, at 49,996 Hz.

A problem in Kosovo meant the Balkan country was not putting in enough power and Serbia was not making up the imbalance. This upset the frequency.

European transmission system association Entso-e, which covers 43 energy suppliers in 25 countries, said “deviations which affected the average frequency in the synchronous area of Continental Europe have now ceased” and it was looking at ways to make up the missing energy.

It has been working to compensate for the lost energy/time and spokeswoman Susanne Nies told Connexion last night: “We started to compensate four days ago with a success of six to 20 seconds a day. We are now about 342 seconds short.

“We will need more than 4-6 weeks more; probably somewhere in the middle of May we will be back to normal… if all partners behave in the correct way.”

Today is the spring or vernal equinox when the day and the night are the same length and the days start to lengthen towards summer. The equinox is at 17.15.

Find the correct time on the website of the Observatoire de Paris – although it says for the exact time to call the speaking clock on 3699 (which costs €1.50 per call). You could also listen in to France Inter, which gives four beeps on the hour and the last is exactly on the hour.

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