* Russia has already cut time zones to nine from 11
* Scientists say time change bad for health
MOSCOW, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Hard on the heels of having cut his sprawling country’s number of time zones to nine from 11, President Dmitry Medvedev decreed on Tuesday that Russia will remain on Daylight Savings Time in perpetuity.
“I decided to cancel winter time transition from the upcoming autumn,” he told a conference of scientists where he announced that from next October, when the rest of Europe switches off DST, Russia will keep its clocks one hour ahead.
“I wouldn’t even mention cows that just don’t get it, when milkmaids come at different times (because of the transition),” he added — giving an example of the impact of the clock switch.
Medvedev first suggested reducing the number of time zones and abolishing the winter time transition two years ago.
The number of time zones was cut last March in a country stretching across 10,000 km (6,200 miles).
This sparked outrage in some regions, where people complained about the lack of daylight.
Scientists, however, have said switching clocks back and forth is bad for health and increases pollution [ID:nLDE69R08R]. Medvedev said he took these concerns seriously and ordered the government to abolish winter time.
A Kremlin handout, citing experts, said that depending on the region, the change would increase the amount of perceived daylight by between seven and 17 percent.
The abolition of winter time also would boost annual electricity consumption by 1 billion kw/h, or 0.01 percent of the total usage, a Kremlin handout read, because mornings will be darker and people will need to use more power.
But Kremlin economic adviser Arkady Dvorkovich told journalists the energy loss would be insignificant because of a goal Medvedev set recently of cutting power consumption by 40 percent by 2020.
Writing by Alexei Anishchuk, Editing by Michael Roddy