Heating pellets prove to be in short supply in NH
Anyone who did not pre-buy wood pellets this year is likely to find them in short supply for the rest of the winter. (UNION LEADER FILE)
“We usually get them at the local Agway,” she said, “but they were in short supply and what they had was committed to customers who’d made pre-buys.”
“When I said, ‘Your ad says you never run out,’ she just hung up on me,” Newby said.
Demand outstrips supply
“Five or six years ago, it was common practice to buy pellets in the spring or summer, when inventories were plentiful, and sock it away in the garage,” he said. “We’ve seen consumer behavior change in recent years and move in the direction of buying less volume all at once, replenishing constantly over the course of the winter.”
Neibling predicted that consumers will return to the old habit of buying early and storing pellets, which will encourage the creation of new production capacity to keep up with demand.
“We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars in new capacity to keep up with growth in demand,” he said, “and I suspect if conventional heating fuels stay expensive, we’ll sustain that demand in the future.”
“We still have pellets to sell, but it’s been a lot tighter than in prior years,” he said. “Our suppliers are filling on an allocation basis.”
Minimum delivery from Woodpellets.com, however, is one ton, or 50 bags, which is more than a consumer like Newby might want to purchase at any given time. For people trying to find just a few bags, the search can be grueling, as she discovered.
Wood pellets and other fuels are not the only commodities affected by the frequent dips of the polar vortex this winter. Try finding a bag of rock salt.
“No rock salt” signs were visible at hardware outlets and grocery stores throughout the region over the weekend as heavy rain one day turned to solid ice the next.Braen Supply Inc., one of the largest national suppliers of the material, posted this warning recently on its website: “As rock salt continues to be used so frequently, it is becoming extremely difficult for local and national suppliers to keep up with demand. All of these factors are contributing to the rock salt shortage of 2014.”
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