When electricity becomes as expensive as it is now, and the temperature drops, we know that Norwegians are choosing alternative ways to heat homes, says Espen Brathen at Obs bygg.
Norwegian electricity customers suffer from price shock all the time. The spot price will reach 1.20 crowns per kilowatt-hour on Wednesday morning, according to Nordpool spot price database.
One result is increased timber sales. Obs Bygg sold 1.5 million bags of firewood last year, with a turnover of NOK 7.5 billion.
– Last year we went for empty periods, and this year we expect to sell 2 million bags.
That’s what Espen Brathin, chain manager at Coop’s building materials chain, Obs bygg, tells Nettavisen.
Braaten states that many department stores pick up lumber locally. So the total sales are higher than shown in the figure.
The chain expects sales to grow by 30 percent.
When electricity becomes as expensive as it is now, and the temperature drops, we know that Norwegians are choosing alternative ways to heat homes, says Brathen.
Most of the timber sold at Coop is imported from abroad. Only five percent is made in Norway.
According to Wikipedia, 37 percent of Norway’s area is made up of forests. About half of this is considered productive forest.
– Why is this small part of the wood produced in Norway?
– We’d like to have more Norwegian woods with us, but it proved difficult to get such large sizes, says the chain manager.
However, he emphasized that Norwegian wood bears a Nordic eco-label – which means it must be produced with a smaller climate footprint than imported wood.
Braathen doesn’t think wood will be more expensive than about NOK 60 per kilo for one 40-liter bag, but he doesn’t rule out the possibility of a price war as the grade creeps down.
Norsk Ved AS founder and general manager, Trond Fjørtoft, tells Nettavisen they have already noticed the consequences of higher electricity prices.
Sales have exploded since August 1, and we’ve doubled our growth, Fjørtoft tells Nettavisen.
According to the figures from proff.no, the turnover of the company was around 5 million NOK in 2019.
Fjørtoft won’t say last year’s sales numbers, but says it has doubled its growth since last year.
– what is the reason?
The cold winter emptied people of their timber stocks. He says people may secure themselves for the coming winter.
At Byggmakker, this year’s timber sales are also taking place. This was confirmed by Peter Knutsen, director of communications at Byggmakker for Nettavisen.
– We are entering another season where Norwegians travel less than before and therefore spend more time at home and in the cabin. He says this will lead to increased wood consumption, but he also stresses that it is difficult to predict how much wood they will sell during the winter.
Byggmakker says they bought firewood from the Baltic states early in the season to secure deliveries.
“Unfortunately, it’s not a short trip, but it is a guarantee of delivery,” he says.
Why would you and your competitors import foreign timber when there is enough of it here at home?
– Baltic wood is cheaper than wood found at home, he says, adding:
“It’s about being competitive with consumers, but we’re constantly looking for short-term, sustainable solutions — while ensuring a good price for the customer,” he says.
At competitor Maxbo, they also took into account increased sales. The chain sells birch wood produced in Norway in 40-liter bags, says Eric Groni, marketing director for Løvenskiold Handel and Maxbo.
Grønlie says it’s hard to predict whether there will be a price war on lumber all season.
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