Temporary wood pellet shortage as residents rush to prepare for winter

People rush to buy wood pellets in time in preparation for the next heating season. Previously, one pack of pellets, which contains about a tonne, cost around €150, but at the moment the price has doubled, and many residents cannot get them at all, Latvian Radio reported June 10.

Latvian Radio spoke to Mārupe resident Dace, whose family needs about nine packs of pellets to provide heat from autumn to spring, but this time the order hasn't succeeded because of high demand.

"Instead of simply accepting the order, they said that there's a window on June 6, call between that and that time. We started calling, for three hours all the time – repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat the call. The husband did the same thing. Of those hundreds of times, I got through twice but no one picked up," said Dace.

The efforts to contact other companies were also unsuccessful, and Dace decided to wait in hopes that there would be enough pellets for everyone. The price increases do not bother her at the moment.

Sigulda resident Jānis could not get pellets either. He wanted to prepare timely so he contacted the Latgranula company of Inčukalns, which had the best price offer at the time. Representatives of the company identified five phone numbers to call, and recommended that he enter a live queue. The effort and calls to other companies were unsuccessful, though Jānis is also ready to pay the high price.

Inčukalns company Latgranula declined to comment, but overall the situation is similar in all Latvian pellet manufacturing companies – due to huge demand, the stocks have been exhausted and the price has doubled. However, the situation will be settled over time. As the cold weather approaches, there will be no shortage of pellets, said Māris Petrovskis, chairman of the company Kurzemes granulas.

"In fact, there is no cause for concern that there would be no pellets on the Latvian market. Latvia is one of the largest pellet producers and not the largest pellet consumer. Simply because of this rapid soar in market demand, maybe there is a situation where people get the impression that the market lacks pellets.

Of course, it may be difficult for people to understand this and accept, as before they stockpiled for winter at the end of the summer. While maintaining stable, steady demand, producers would already be able to meet this demand. Of course, the pellets will never again cost €100 a tonne without VAT, as it may have been a year ago. There will be no such price, it is clear, but at the moment, I think the concern is a little exaggerated," Petrovskis said.

Sandris Vaitnieks, spokesman for the DIY store Kurši, said that despite the rapid rise in pellet prices, people are still choosing to install pellet heaters, but other forms of heating are also being considered.

“Because of the rise in gas prices and everything else, I can tell you that very many also switched to pellet boilers to economize, so to say. At the same time, it is also a very friendly product for nature. “We, “Kurši”, make a sort of promotion on insulation materials [..], people are warming their homes more, so they also economize the heat,” Vaitnieks said.

Using the fact that pellets have become a deficit commodity, resellers are also active, offering to buy them at an even higher price.

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