A letter from my wood pellet supplier:
Bagged Brites Wood Pellets
We have been advised by Balcas that, due to the increase in transport and raw material costs, the price of their bagged wood pellets is being increased by £20 per tonne. The new price will therefore be £200 per tonne plus transport and VAT.
Now, for all you reading this from across the Pond, £200 is about US$311 at today’s rate. The increase is US$31. Whichever currency you’re using, it’s an increase of 10% when the rate of inflation in the UK economy is currently static at 3.1% per annum.
Happy? No, I’m not. This, sadly, is a consequence of buying in a nascent market with just one dominant domestic manufacturer. Balcas’ main factory is in Northern Ireland, so historically there has been a significant cost in bringing its product over the Irish Sea to Scotland and England. However its new plant in Scotland, which also generates electricity from biomass, opened just over a year ago. Did we see any benefit from the reduced transport costs that must surely have followed?
Go on. Have a guess.
It’s difficult to beat the system by buying from one of the few small-scale producers that are springing up in the UK because they all know who their competition is and how much he’s charging. They price themselves accordingly. And it’s a risk taking pellets from the one truly cheap source currently being shipped into the UK – China – because of issues over quality. I really don’t want to have my stove coked up and in need of expensive cleaning and repairs.
I’d love to be able to wander into a garage or a garden centre and pick up a couple of bags of a new brand of pellets, just to try out, the way you can easily buy a small bag of coal, logs or peat in the UK. Sadly, it’s just not possible.
I wonder, does anyone else have any similar experiences, and perhaps any solutions? Come on, hit that comment box. You know you want to.