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Retailers Face a Wood Pellet Shortage

LACKAWANNA COUNTY — This year`s winter may have you paying extra to heat your home, but if you rely on a wood pellet stove, you may be out of luck.

Many stores in Northeastern Pennsylvania are sold out of the pellets.

Elizabeth Waronker of Thornhurst has been searching for wood pellets for more than a week.

“Frustration, aggravation. A lot of yelling, a lot of driving, a lot of calling around,” said Waronker.

She has used a pellet stove to heat her home for six years.

But now, Waronker can’t find the wood pellets anywhere and she’s almost out, “You’re looking at about an hours worth left in the stove and that’s it. Then we’re going back to electric, so our electric bill is going to be sky high.”

The Lowe’s in Dickson City has been out of the pellets for two weeks.

An employee said the shortage is due to a colder than average winter causing people to burn more pellets.

Also, the employee explained that the pellets are not easy to make.

“It’s a pressed wood and they put it through a machine and they press it, so that’s how you get your wood pellets. So they take a little longer to make,” said Noelle Olver, an employee at Lowe’s.

Lowe’s is hoping for a pellet delivery soon, but there are restrictions for customers.

“You can’t do a pick up or delivery, you have to take them with you. People actually get a little pushy about them, which I understand. They’re freezing and they want to get warm,” said Olver.

Home Depot in Dickson City is also out of wood pellets. They said the last time they got a delivery, they sold out in three hours. For those people who keep calling, they’re hoping for another delivery soon.

“We’ve gone through the phonebook, we’ve Googled. Far out of our range, hours drive, close to Philly and they don’t even have pellets,” said Waronker.

The shortage has her rethinking how she should heat her home.

“I love my pellet stove, but if I knew we were going to have problems like this, maybe I would have thought about it earlier,” said Waronker.

Retailers are hoping for pellet deliveries within the next few days, but since they sell out so quickly, stores are urging consumers to keep calling to check with your local store.

8 comments

  • Pattie

    wood pellets are available at Lowe’s in Pottsville, Pa right now, got a truck in yesterday. First come, first serve, no limit

  • Stephen Carpenteri

    What’s hilarious is that PA has 1.5 million acres of WMA lands that are supposed to be managed for wildlife but they are only touching 1 percent of those lands annually. Turn the pellet people loose on those endless miles of hardwoods and kill two birds with one stone – produce more pellets, create more wildlife habitat. Simple – and cheap!

  • joanie

    We sell pellets, we stock hundreds of tons, for the customers we regularly have. We also tell our customers who purchase their stoves here that it’s best to purchase ALL their fuel for the year in the spring/fall months. Before winter hits. If you buy your stove here and your pellets here we promise to have them for you when you need them. As a specialty retailer, not a “big box” store we keep fuel in stock all year round. If people would build a relationship with a specialty retailer the pellet needs would have been met, because they wouldn’t be just a number like big box stores. Every one knows that big box stock is seasonal. When their stuff is gone it’s gone. This winter has been long and extremely cold and we get flack for not selling to people from all over PA? No, we can’t; wish we could. Our first priority will always be our regular customers. If only people could understand how it works.

  • BOB

    Pellets do keep well. As long as they are covered. I purchase all my fuel for the year in the summer. Then you don’t end up looking for them at the end of the season. Its the same as buying rock salt during a snow storm. Of course they will be difficult to find! Also its one of the worst winters in almost 15 years. I have burned pellets for over 5 years and never had an issue. If I seem to be burning more than expected I purchase more in the fall. People end up in this situation because of bad planning and then they say they hate pellets! WHAT A JOKE!!!

  • jbrony

    It’s a shame that pellets don’t keep well, otherwise you could buy enough to get you through the winter. Kind of like fuel oil – I’m sick of getting five gallons at a time. I wish someone could find a way to deliver it to your house and store it in your basement.

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