Czechs stock up on firewood and coal for fear of rising energy prices

 Although the heating season started only a few weeks ago, firewood and coal sellers around the Czech Republic are reporting increased demand for fuel. In reaction to growing energy prices, Czechs have started stocking up on both wood and coal.

For fear of rising energy prices, many people around the country have decided to switch to solid fuels. Although coal and wood prices are also rising, they are still significantly lower than prices of electricity and gas.

Some firewood sellers have already sold all their stock and are only accepting orders for next year, Czech Radio reported this week.

“The demand is definitely increasing. More people are calling us each day. We can't even keep up with the chipping. This year we have about 30 percent more," says Jaroslav Hrubeš, a technician at the Litomyšl Municipal Forest.

The demand has grown markedly in recent days, after suppliers announced a price increase of electricity and gas. Households with a wood or coal-fired boiler are stocking up on fuel.

However, firewood prices are also gradually rising. Jaroslav Hrubeš from the Litomyšl Municipal Forest told Czech Radio that customers will have to pay more on their next visit.

“We are going to increase the price of wood by about 10 percent for the time being. Right now we are selling a loose meter of hardwood for CZK 1,230 and a loose meter of softwood for CZK 799. We will increase the price by around CZK 200 or 250.”

Despite the rising costs of solid fuels, wood still remains the cheapest heating option. For a family house with a heat loss of 13 kilowatts, the cost of heating with wood can be up to three times lower than with electricity, heating expert Vladimír Stupavský told Czech Radio.

According to Stupavský, such a household would pay up to CZK 80,000 a year for electricity, compared to around CZK 25,000 for wood and 60,000 for gas.

“This year and in the future, I would recommend that people use wood. I wouldn’t recommend heating with coal, because of the approaching ban on boilers,” Mr Stupavský added.

As of September 1, coal-fired boilers with manual feeding manufactured before the year 2,000 will be decommissioned. Despite that, the demand for coal has also increased this year.