About 80 parishes in the southern German land of Bavaria have told the state economics minister, Otto Wiesheu, that they want to increase the use of renewables in their area by authorising rates of pay higher than the standard premium payments under the federal Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff. The economy ministry is sceptical. It points out that the utilities, not the state, take such decisions and these are already warning that increasing competition in the tariff sector will make it harder to pass on higher costs to customers. The parishes want to allow rates high enough to "cover the cost" of wind power generation, whatever that may be. Differentiated rates of pay have been allowed under Germany's new energy law, introduced in April 1998, although utilities have been free to pass on the extra costs of renewables since 1994, up to a limit of DEM 0.015/kWh.
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