Heating: why did the price of pellets almost double last year?

The price of pellets has increased significantly in the last few weeks, from 1.5 to 2 times higher than before. (©maho / Adobe Stock)

This is a revelation for many people. The pellets, it is small pellets made of sawdust, placed in a stove designed for this purpose to heat the room, is all the rage recently.

Since the end of summer, especially, when many people are afraid of shortage.

However, the sector is “holding its own”, in the words of Eric Vial, director of Propellet, the national association of wood pellet heating professionals.

Most of the demand was met, but it was done at the cost of a financial effort from the consumers. “The price has almost doubled since last summer,” Eric Vial said. Now, the ton is bought about 600 euros. At the beginning of 2021, counting is required 300, 350 euros.

How to explain this situation? Actu.fr make the point.

Production costs are rising

The main reason for this large price increase, “is the increase in production costs”, as explained by the director of Propellet.

In fact, they increased twice. “First during the Covid crisis, when plastic and metal elements became difficult to find, for example,” he explained.

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Then, the war in Ukraine came and put two cents in this well-oiled machine. “To make pellets, we need electricity, and because of what happened in Ukraine, it increased a lot. And in the beginning, companies were not affected by the price shield“, Eric Vial recalls.

People fear scarcity

the sharp rise in energy prices therefore greatly contributed to the increase in the price of pellets. But what has doubled the price is a combination of many factors. We can also talk about the ever-increasing demand for the product.

People fear scarcity. From the end of summer, the demand is very strong. And all sellers don’t have to think about it. In March, demand equals 100% of annual production

Eric VialDirector of Propellet

So most households want to expect. But to meet demand, French sellers are forced to source the product elsewhere. “We slightly exceeded the usual 15% import rate,” he explained.

The problem is thatalso internationally, the price has increased significantly. “In Germany, it has tripled, in Switzerland, the same, and in Italy, we are between 2.5 and 3 times the base price”, reports Eric Vial. “Inevitably, if we buy at such a high price, we will sell again at a higher price…”

Still “due” to the increase in demand, the price of sawdust, which is one of the main elements in the design of pellets, has also increased significantly. “The sawyer we bought it was sold to the highest bidder”, commented the director.

Reasons to be optimistic

Although he “understands people who are disappointed in the situation”, Eric Vial wants to point out that the accusations of overstocking to which the sector has been a victim for some weeks are “absolutely false”.

Just because you see a picture of a full hangar doesn’t mean the producer overstocked. One hangar can hold more than 120,000 tons per year. Without 1,000 to 2,000 tons permanently, it will not work. We operate just-in-time.

Eric VialDirector of Propellet

The sector has also been accused of speculating and letting prices down. “But right now, it’s crazy. If we really did these things, we would be selling today. The ton can start at 800 euros”, he defends.

He also wants to point out that in France, “the wood sector is growing rapidly, more and more people are installing stoves … Apart from the excess demand and the price of electricity, everything is good. The pressure should decrease in end of the calendar year”.

Especially since he denies any overstocking on the part of the producer, he suspects this practice by some individuals, consumers. “And they, this winter, they have what they need, so they don’t buy”, summarizes Eric Vial.

“In 2021, we produced 1.8 million tons of pellets for 2.4 million consumed. In 2022, we return to 2.15 million, and we estimate the consumption of the year at 2.6 million. “He assured him:” The sector will continue. »

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