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German utility giant versus renewables tariff law
1 May 1998
Utility giant Preussenelektra is gathering its powerful legal resources in a new effort to overturn the amended law governing Germany's Renewable Energy Feed In Tariff (REFIT) as soon as it takes effect, possibly this month. "We shall use all legal instruments available to fight against the damage already done to our company by the REFIT law and to be made even worse by its amendments. This includes an appeal to the Constitutional Court," storms Preussenelektra chairman Hans-Dieter Harig. He complains that the amendment makes no changes to "the unfair principles of financing." Furthermore, Preussenelektra says its suggestions that the costs of the REFIT be spread among all electricity consumers -- and not just those in the windy north, that subsidies be limited and that the REFIT be lowered have been ignored. Harig claims REFIT payments now cost Preussenelektra DEM 300 million a year, about half of the annual savings of DEM 600 million achieved by the utility through efficiency and job cutting measures since 1994. "The loss of jobs in north German utilities is taking place at the expense of jobs created in the wind industry with the help of long term subsidies," complains Harig. He believes that a support mechanism reliant on market forces, "for example a quota arrangement," would be better than a subsidy system.
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