Last winter, the price of natural gas hit a record high, even more than €300 per megawatt hour, and the high price and lack of gas affected the prices for pellets and firewood.
Valdis Vītoliņš, Member of the Board of the Latvian Association of Thermal Enterprises, said: "Natural gas has stabilized this year, many of the big heating companies have actually already contracted natural gas supply for the entire heating season, resulting in a stable situation, I would say. It also points to a stable situation as regards the adequacy of energy resources in the other resource segment, i.e. wood, pellets."
According to the information on the website “Latvianwood.lv”, a cubic meter of firewood currently costs EUR 45 on average. At the beginning of last year before the war in Ukraine, the price was EUR 40 per cubic meter.
Harakds Vīgants, representative of the pellet trader Graanul Palets, said that a very important factor is how long and cold winter will be: “The lowest threshold for bonus pellets was, I think, May, June, when those prices were lower, then a lot of people were buying. We are now seeing demand drop as everyone has taken advantage of the summertime when prices are at their lowest. ”
Last year, during the heating season, state support to households amounted to EUR 370 million. The Ministry of Climate and Energy this week submitted a support program to low - and middle-income households in government if heating prices are extremely high and exceed a certain threshold. The households eligible for support would automatically be determined by a special system.
Vītoliņš of the Latvian Association of Thermal Enterprises assessed that even if state support is not necessary for residents during the heating season, it is good that a support system has been established with certain criteria.
"The state is building this system, this support specifically for those households that will need it, rather than simply, as colleagues say here, scattering money across all households. That approach, I think, is right, and hopefully we will not have to use that system, but it should be developed so it can be triggered if necessary," Vītoliņš said.
The Consumer Rights Protection Center warns that several complaints have already been received this season that residents have ordered briquettes or firewood, pre-paid, but have not received the product. Care should be taken when wood is offered at suspiciously low prices.