Heating with wood pellets: why stocking …

For the French, heating at a reasonable price is a headache this winter. Regarding gas and electricity, everyone knows that the bill will increase because the price of raw materials continues to rise due to the war in Ukraine. And for those who think they can get away with using wood pellets, an economical solution, it can be complicated! In fact, the prices of pellets – wood pellets – have doubled and they are almost impossible to find at the moment. We explain why, and especially how to react.

Why is the price going up?

Today, the ton trades around 600 euros against 280 a year ago. Several factors cause the price explosion:

  • A fear of scarcity. Since the war in Ukraine and the increase in energy costs, the French, worried and affected by inflation, are looking for fallback solutions. Like wood pellets, which are often a secondary heating source. “From May-June, there is stronger demand. This rush is explained by the fear of running out and the desire to save in case”, explains Frédéric Plan, general delegate of the French Federation of fuels, fuels and heating (FF3C), which has 300 pellet distributors in France. result, from mid-August – and sometimes mid-July – there are stock shortages in most suppliers. The sector expects a 15% increase, which it thinks it can absorb, but at the moment, the orders are multiplied by five! And like any market in tension, “there will be an increase in prices”, this is the law of supply and demand. Especially since the delivery from Russia, from Ukraine and Belarus, about 10% of pellet imports to Europe, stopped, which contributed to the increase in prices.
  • A sharp increase in installations. There is a fear of losing, but not only! Above all that in the last two years, the government has encouraged aid for energy transition (especially MaPrimeRenov), the French rush to boilers (+ 120% installation in 2021) and pellet stoves (+ 40% installation in 2021), a greener and more economical solution for heating. And even the local communities got into it, with XXL orders! “The park is developing very fast compared to the availability of products”, insists Frédéric Plan of FF3C.
  • Rising production costs. Very concretely, the production of pellets is still not very expensive, due to the increase in the price of raw materials (sawdust), the cost of energy needed to change it, the cost of transportation, etc.
  • A raise? If all these factors are true and explain the price increase, 60 million consumers explain that some distributors will abuse the price increase, a practice that ” thought” to prevent consumers from overstocking. And so let futures prices fall.

Will the price drop in the next few months?

There will inevitably be a break, but “not for the coming winter, which will still be complicated”, assures Frédéric FF3C Plan. According to him, it should even continue to increase in the coming weeks. There may even be a shortage, “a lack of supply in the order of 5 to 15%” if orders follow the same rhythm as today – while the weather is good.

One element will calm things – and prices: imports. Generally, it represents around 15% of the French consumption. However, today, “it is a highly contested market in Europe”, with strong competition from Germany and especially Italy. Especially since the European market has to do without Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian imports. “If this market is opened, there may be a reduction in prices”. Eric Vial, president of Propellet, France, the federation of players in this sector that employs 20,000 people, is more optimistic: asked by France Bleu, he estimates that thethe industry that works hard, deficiencies must be avoided. This should lead to lower prices this fall.

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What behavior should customers use?

Avoid overstock because, in fact, new orders always come in and this behavior contributes to the increase in prices. In a press release published at the end of August, FF3C recommends that companies first serve customers who choose to heat only with pellets compared to those who make it an auxiliary heating source, and main regulars customer. Which probably makes a lot of people sad!

But the Frédérique Plan is more radical: if you are planning to switch to a pellet stove or boiler in the next few weeks and the estimate is not signed, “then don’t, wait!”.

Eric Vial advises him to wait because a reduction in prices for this fall cannot be ruled out with the arrival of new stocks. There are also moves to put in place: “service your device to reduce consumption” and above all “the most important point in terms of effects is lower the temperature inside the house“According to Ademe, one degree less means 7% savings.

Beware of scams!

When there is market stress or shortage, there is always cheat to take advantage of the situation. And that is true for wood pellets. Orders placed on the internet that never arrive, websites that take a name that strangely resembles established companies, that pay the check without any stocks… More and more same cases now return to FF3C. Obviously, before any order, it is necessary to check the status of the company, how long it has been in business, if there are customer reviews on the Internet. And don’t hesitate to pick up your phone: there’s nothing like a phone contact to verify the existence of a company. And above all, do not pay before delivery, if you do not know the supplier!

Finally, there is a fairly extensive list of serious suppliers on the FF3C site from which you can choose yours. As long as you can supply him.

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