Editorial (opinion): Thumbs down to changing the clocks

Thumbs down to changing the clocks. The semi-annual ritual hit again this past weekend, with the result that the sun sets before the end of the workday from now until spring. It’s an unwelcome change for many people and disrupts sleep patterns — especially in households with young children — leading to regular calls to do away with the tradition. The alternative, though, is waking up to hours of darkness midwinter until the sun rises long after the day has started. Either way, what we really want is more sunlight. March will be here soon enough.

Thumbs down to the sobering news that about 546,000 state residents were impacted by 1,062 data breaches last year. The information, released by the Attorney General’s office to Hearst Connecticut Media, documents the vulnerability of personal information such as Social Security numbers. Not only have the number of reported breaches risen by roughly 20 percent each of the last three years, but the figure this year has already doubled from 2018. It’s a grim reminder to pay attention to advice on best practices to thwart hackers.

Thumbs down to rising prices for home heating. Last week, Eversource announced its residential natural gas customers would see a 14 percent increase, about $30, in monthly bills compared to their average monthly winter heating spending in 2020. Home heating oil is also more expensive this year, and those who use electric heat are seeing a price jump, as well. While state officials stress that prices in Connecticut compare favorably with other New England states, the effect on people’s wallets is real. With cold temperatures arriving in Connecticut a little later than usual this year, ratepayers have had a bit of a reprieve on heating costs, but that surely won’t last long.

Thumbs up to reinventing the Stamford Observatory. After 40 years, the observatory at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center has been closed to the public for three years. A new proposal would introduce a planetarium with 125 seats, an outdoor observation deck and classroom space. It would also move the current telescope to New Mexico, where less pollution would offer Stamford visitors views of a clearer sky. The project has inviting potential, as the public has limited access to similar facilities such as Yale University’s planetarium and observatory.

Thumbs up to renewed chances that a natural gas power plant planned in eastern Connecticut will be halted. Last week ISO-New England, the regional electric grid operator, said it did not want the proposed Killingly plant to be part of its future plans, dealing a blow to the controversial project’s economic viability. While Connecticut has built numerous natural gas-fired plants in recent years, including in Bridgeport and Oxford, environmentalists have warned that continuing down a fossil-fuel-generating path goes against the state’s long-term energy policies aimed at cutting emissions. This is the right move for the state.