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A court ruling forcing a southern German utility to make proper payment for hydro-generated power, as specified by the Electricity Feed Law (EFL), has been greeted as an important victory for privately-owned renewables generators in the continuing conflict with electricity utilities over the EFL. The Karlsruhe District Court has ruled in favour of a small hydro operator, based in Bronnbach on the river Tauber, against utility Badenwerk of Karlsruhe which, since March 1995, has ignored the EFL and made reduced payments for the hydro electricity fed into its grid. The utility must now make back payments of nearly DEM 26,400, plus interest. The ruling is especially piquant because it was the same Karlsruhe court which, in September, submitted an appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) questioning the legality of the EFL. In January, the FCC rejected the appeal, however, as being inadequately argued. Now the Karlsruhe Court seems to have done an about turn to face the same way as the Freiburg District Court. In September it ruled that utilities were acting illegally by not making full EFL payment for renewable energy.

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