Although the heating season only started a few weeks ago, firewood and coal sellers across the Czech Republic reported increasing demand for fuel. In response to rising energy prices, the Czechs began to hoard wood and coal.
Worried about rising energy prices, many people across the country decided to switch to solid fuels. Although coal and timber prices are also rising, they are still significantly lower than electricity and natural gas prices.
Czech radio reported this week that some firewood sellers have sold all their inventory and only accept orders for next year.
"Demand is definitely increasing. More people call us every day. We can't even keep up with the debris. This year we have increased by about 30%," said Jaroslav Hrubeš, a forest technician in Litomyšl.
After suppliers announced the increase in electricity and natural gas prices, demand has increased significantly in recent days. Families with wood-fired or coal-fired boilers are hoarding fuel.
However, the price of firewood is gradually rising. Jaroslav Hrubeš from the forest in Litomyšl told Czech radio that customers will have to pay more for their next visit.
"We will temporarily increase the price of wood by about 10%. Now, we sell one metre of bulk hardwood at 1,230 CZK and one metre of loose softwood at 799 CZK. We will increase the price by about 200 or 250 CZK."
Despite the rising cost of solid fuels, wood is still the cheapest heating option. Heating expert Vladimír Stupavský told Czech radio that for a family house with a heat loss of 13 kilowatts, the cost of using wood for heating may be three times lower than that of electricity.
According to Stupavský, such households will pay up to 80,000 CZK per year for electricity, while the cost of wood is about 25,000 CZK and the cost of natural gas is 60,000 CZK.
"This year and in the future, I will advise people to use wood. I don't recommend using coal for heating because boilers are about to be banned," Mr. Stupavský added.
Starting from September 1, 2000 manually-loaded coal-fired boilers produced before will all be decommissioned. Nevertheless, the demand for coal has also increased this year.