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Germany

Germany

All consumers to pay for wind, Price hike challenged

A price hike for electricity consumers in 1997 has been announced by north German regional utility Schleswag to cover what it claims are the additional costs of buying wind power at the premium rates established by the country's Electricity Feed Law. The size of the price increase has yet to be decided, but the company says that DEM 86 million in additional costs will be incurred through wind energy in 1996.

This figure is challenged by Peter Ahmels, chairman of Germany's new federal wind association, Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE). He that an independent evaluation of the so-called extra costs must first be made. Ahmels' criticism is partly prompted by a report by auditors C&L Deutsche Revision. Ironically this was commissioned by Schleswag in 1995 and compares the costs of buying wind power under the EFL and buying an alternative source of power from utility Preussenelektra. BWE points out that C&L concluded that a real comparison would require the study of data from simultaneous records of wind generation and power purchases from Preussenelektra. Unable to conduct such a study, C&L said it could not assess if the claim that wind cost an extra DEM 61 million was correct or not, reports BWE's Martin Luettke. All that C&L could establish, according to Luettke, was that an "additional agreement" between Preussenelektra and Schleswag reduced the claimed additional costs to DEM 54 million.

Schleswag, owned 65.3% by Preussenelektra, is currently one of the German utilities with relatively cheap electricity prices. With an average price of DEM 0.1761/kWh to industrial customers (as of July 1996), it is eleventh in the pecking order of 50 west German utilities drawn up by the Bundesverband der Energie Abnehmer. The power company with the cheapest product was Pesag of Paderborn with an average DEM 0.1671/kWh.

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