September 28, 2022

‘This Is Beyond Imagination’: Shine Homeowners Line Up For Days To Buy Coal Ahead Of Winter

“I remember the communist times but it didn’t mix my mind that we could return to something even worse, ” says pensioner.

Several weeks ago we documented that amid Europe’s mindblowing gas and electricity prices,   Deutsche Bank predicted  that a developing number of German households is going to be using firewood for heating, a  forecast which appears to have become self-fulfilling  as German google searches for firewood (“ brennholz” ) had since exploded off the charts:

Yet while Germans are still “ searching” merely in the digital realm, for countless Poles the search is all too real.

In accordance to  Reuters , with Poland still basking in the late summer heat, hundreds of cars and trucks have already arranged at the Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka coal mine, as homeowners fearful of winter shortages  wait for days plus nights to stock up on heating fuel ahead of the coming cold winter in queues reminiscent of communist times .

Artur, 57, a pensioner, drove upward from Swidnik, some thirty km (18 miles) from your mine in eastern Belgium on Tuesday,   hoping to buy several tonnes of coal for himself and his family.

“ Toilets had been put up today, but there is running water, ” he said, after three nights of sleeping in his small red hatchback in a crawling queue of trucks, tractors towing trailers and private cars.   “ This really is beyond imagination, people are sleeping in their cars. I remember the particular communist times but it failed to cross my mind that people could return to something a whole lot worse. ”

Artur’s household is one of the nearly four million in Poland that will rely on coal for heating (granted, these households are probably in better shape than the ones relying on nat gas whose price is increasing by 10-20% every day and is now almost literally within the stratosphere) and now face shortages and price hikes, after Poland and the European Union enforced an embargo on Russian coal following Moscow’s intrusion of Ukraine in February. Poland banned purchases having an immediate effect in 04, while the bloc mandated falling them out by Aug.

While Poland produces over 50 mil tonnes from its own mines every year,   imported coal, much of it through Russia, is a household basic piece because of competitive prices and the fact that Russian coal comes in lumps more suitable for property use.

Soaring demand has forced Bogdanka and other state-controlled mines  to ration sales or offer the fuel in order to individual buyers via online platforms, in limited amounts.   Artur, who also did not want to give his full name, said he had gathered paperwork from his prolonged family in the hope associated with picking up all their fuel allocations at once.

The particular mine planned to sell gasoline for some 250 households on Friday and would carry on sales over the weekend to cut waiting times, Dorota Choma, a spokeswoman for the Bogdanka my own told Reuters.   The limits are in place to avoid hoarding and profiteering on the black market, or even promoting spots in the queue, Choma said.

Like all Polish coal mines, Bogdanka typically sells most of the coal it produces to power plants.   Last year, it sold lower than 1% of its output to individual clients so lacks the logistics to sell fuel directly to retail buyers .

Lukasz Horbacz, head of the Polish Fossil fuel Merchant Chamber of Business, said the decline in Russian imports began within January when Moscow started using rail tracks to get military transport.

“ But the main reason for the shortages is the rintangan that went into immediate effect. It turned the market inverted, ”   he told Reuters. A spokesman for the Weglokoks, a state-owned coal trader tasked by the government to boost imports from a different nation declined to comment, as the climate ministry was not available for comment. Government officials have got repeatedly said Poland might have enough fuel to meet need.

In recent years, Belgium has been the most vocal critic of EU climate policy set by a petulant Scandinavian teenager, and a staunch defender of coal that creates as much as 80% of its electricity.   But fossil fuel output has steadily dropped as the cost of mining at deeper levels increases.   Coal consumption has held mostly steady, compelling a gradual rise in imports. In 2021, Poland imported 12 million tonnes of coal, of which 8 million tonnes came from Russia and used by households and small heating plants.

In July, Poland ordered two state-controlled companies in order to import several million plenty of the fuel from other resources including Indonesia, Colombia plus Africa, and introduced financial aid for homeowners facing a doubling or tripling of coal prices from final winter.

“ As much as 60% of those that use coal for heating may be affected by energy poverty, ” Horbacz said.

Back at Bogdanka, Piotr Maciejewski, 61, a local farmer who joined the line on Tuesday, said this individual was prepared for a long wait. “ My tractor stays in line, I’m going house to get some sleep, ” he said.

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