Wood pellet sellers are worse than plumbers. And surgeons.
I wrote that “the highest [price] Ive seen so far is $300” for a ton of hardwood pellets. That was way back in August and early September, four or even five weeks ago when supplies were apparently plentiful.
So we bought a stove.
Then I tried to buy pellets for it.
Vermont has more than two dozen dealers. I found, listed, and called the 15 or so within 50 miles of North Puffin. The typical response has ranged from “Gee, Dick, we don’t have any in stock right now” to “We’re simply not accepting orders–try calling back in November.”
My best local fuel dealer still says, “Soon.” One hardware chain told me they had “one pallet of softwood pellets. Do you want it?” Not for the $313 they planned to charge. Another store said they had none in stock but I could keep calling on Wednesdays when their delivery truck arrived. A farm a long hour away by truck offers a “softwood single species from the Midwest” but they were sold out and didn’t know when any more would arrive. An outdoor furnace rep is “searching for a Canadian supplier.” Unsuccessfully so far. A couple of lumber yards and a couple of stove dealers sold stoves but no pellets.
The Energy Coop sells stoves but no pellets and has no plans to sell pellets.
I finally found a stove dealer 50 miles away with “truckloads coming in every other day.” He sells a premium-hard/softwood mixed-low ash pellet from Canada for $235/ton. I asked for two pallets.
“Sure,” they said.
That seller may have the most disorganized store I have ever done business with. I borrowed a 7,000 pound flatbed trailer, hitched it to the truck and drove right down.
|I called this morning for two skids. Where do you want me to park?
|We don’t have any left. Where’d you call from?
|You’re the woman who called from Petuniaville?
I just looked over my glasses at them.
Anyway, they had promised me three tons and the woman from Petuniaville four tons. They had two wrapped skids (1.5 tons each) and one already opened skid with about one more ton. I arrived first so I got one wrapped skid and the still wrapped bottom half of the second, leaving a wrapped skid and 25 loose bags for the woman from Petuniaville.
She’s a stove buyer so she is gonna be mad.
The boss was on the phone when I arrived. He yelled at his peeps and said that from now on, only one person takes phone orders. He didn’t identify the order taker and I ‘spect nothing will change.
I managed not to give them the benefit of my management expertise which is to say I carefully applied my management expertise not to give them the benefit of my thoughts.
I parked the pellet pallet porter and pickup by the porch where Anne and I pulled and pushed and packed 4,000 pounds in place.
I am pleased to report that the pellet stove just lit again. I am not pleased to report that I’ll have to do it all again in less than 100 days.
Running a new appliance means we accumulate some cost and usage info. I’ll post that next.