Firewood shortage intensifies amid rising prices

Firewood shortage intensifies amid rising prices

Since June, timber prices have risen 20%, bolstered by a sharp increase in demand and the arrival of new traders, willing to do anything to get their share of the pie.

Timber prices are skyrocketing, along with growing scarcity. Firewood providers are unanimous: there will not be enough logs for everyone this winter. Throughout, “Between 7.5 and 8 million French homes are equipped with wood-fired heating (combined logs and pellets)according to a 2019 report from the National Committee for Timber Development. On its website, the Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (Ademe) specifies that the government’s ambition is to increase the number of homes heated with wood to 9.5 million by 2023, to reach 11.3 million in 2028 .

In recent weeks, Ademe has done a great promotion of pellet heating, which has been installed by many professionals. But this has led to a sharp increase in the price of wood.», laments Gérard Fellous, manager of Quality-bûches. Not only “the price of pellets has tripled in the last six months, also driving up the price of logs and our loads“, completes the retailer. Since June, the price of raw wood pallets has increased by 20%, forcing Gérard Fellous to apply this increase to his clients: “I have seen three price increases since the beginning of the summer, which are just indirect prices from my provider“.

According to him, “demand has increased tenfold since July» while it usually only starts in the fall. “Without advertising, I get about a hundred calls a day, which I send straight to voicemail. It never existed, it is unique.», Gérard Fellous is surprised. Same observation for Julián, a supplier of firewood that he has “I’ve never seen that [sa] life“He receives about forty calls a day, compared to only five in normal times.”I hope that the winter will not be hard, but it will be very complicated“, He cares.

“New entrants who have smelled the goose that lays the golden eggs”

Julián thus limits the number of cubic meters per person, up to five for a single delivery. These one cubic meter bales of lumber are starting to sell out at retailers, and “no one will have enough stock“Gérard Fellous warns. A similar situation for Patrick Heib, dealer in Moselle: “No more stock anywhere, I keep my stereos for my loyal customers, hoping they’ll last through the end of winter.“Normally the unit is sold between 55 and 57 euros, the cubic meter of wood is today between 60 and 65 euros in this merchant.

In 2020-2021, the French demand for wood amounted to 1.8 million tons, increasing to 2 million tons in 2021-2022. A figure that skyrockets for the winter of 2022-2023 to 2.4 million tons of wood, according to estimates by the French Federation of Fuels. A fashion that has not gone unnoticed by suppliers. “My producer informed me of the arrival of many new participants, who smelled the goose that lays the golden eggs. At timber auctions, they always buy at the highest price and distort the market. Seniors begin to retireobserves Gérard Fellous, who launched his business in 2003.

Added to this is the modification of the regulations of 1Ahem September, which requires resellers to provide their customers with more information about their wood: species, length, quantity and moisture level. As of September 2023, logs less than two meters, and therefore cubic meters, must be dry wood only. The number of logs will thus decrease, knowing that it takes an average of 18 to 24 months to dry the wood.

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