Wood heating: distributors could deliver “priority” to those for whom it is the “only means of heating”, warns the sector

Wood heating: distributors could deliver "priority" to those for whom it is the "only means of heating", warns the sector

“Do not install” wood heating “before a distributor guarantees that it will be able to supply you”, warns on Sunday September 4 on franceinfo Frédéric Plan, General Delegate of France Combustibles. The 7 million French who have decided to heat themselves with pellet stoves or boilers face a sharp increase in raw material. The strong demand and the lack of resources in France explain in particular the rise in prices. Even if “you don’t see any improvement for several long months or even the next year”Frédéric Plan does not think “that there really is a shortage to fear” this winter. On the other hand, distributors could deliver “priority” those whose wood is the “only means of heating”.

franceinfo: Is there a question of a tariff shield for the purchase of wood?

Frederick Plan: First of all, it must be said that we find ourselves in a very special, unexpected situation, which is due to two fundamental reasons. First of all, a huge illusion for the installation of pellet stoves in particular, several hundred thousand units a year and this for several years. Inevitably, it weighs on the resource. This French resource is insufficient to cover the demand. Mechanically, prices rise. But also for other reasons. Because sawdust is more expensive and because to dry the pellets you need gas, which has become very, very expensive for companies. In addition, imports are failing because several countries, especially European ones, are in the same situation and appropriate everything on the market.

How long will this last?

We really don’t have visibility. we think they [les prix] it will continue to rise a bit, then level off. It is still in general an energy that is still interesting, despite its duplication. VAT is only 10%, unlike other heating energies. Obviously, there is a surprise for the consumer and also a surprise for the distribution networks. It was not expected and we do not see any improvement for several long months, or even next year. The advice we give to individuals, to consumers who want to start in this type of heating, is “do not install appliances before a distributor guarantees that they will be able to supply you”. It’s the rule!

The association 60 million consumers points to price increases that are not always justified. Are there superprofits in your industry?

It is a market that, unlike gas, oil and electricity, is not quoted. There is no visibility into what the price should be based on a stock market. It is more difficult for the distributor to obtain supplies at an adequate price and, consequently, for the consumer. Supply campaigns are planned from one year to the next. We will meet again at the beginning of 2023 with the need as a distributor to cover the needs of the following winter. What price should supply contracts be based on? It will be an absolute uncertainty due to the lack of transparency, in the sense of the absence of a price that values ​​the markets, raw materials and energy.

Is there a risk of rationing so that there is no interruption of supply this winter?

First of all, don’t despair completely. The importation is certainly at the moment a difficult resource to operate. Maybe there will be some good surprises on that side by the end of the year? But we don’t know. There is a real fog. Obviously, this will have an impact on price stabilization. There is no strategic storage stored somewhere. Which means we’re close to just in time. I really don’t think there is any need to fear scarcity because, in the event that the products are insufficient to cover all the demands, we will have to select. There are a number of consumers who have put in stoves because the electricity bill is too high, but they still have electric heat. Ultimately, the pellet is not necessarily essential. Instead, those who have put the cauldrons must be served first. It is your only means of heating.

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