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Bosnians struggle to stay warm in winter.

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  Over the last decade wood pellets have become a very popular fuel for heating homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina BiH a country with almost two thirds of its territory covered by forests But with pellet prices tripling this year many Bosnians now regret the money they spent installing expensive pellet boilers Alija Hadzic a 61 year old forest worker from Sarajevo is one of them When he installed his boiler in the basement of his house in 2021 he was able to buy a ton of wood pellets for around 150 US 154 Now prices are around 450 euros per tonne and more if one is lucky enough to get it Even the ban on the export of wood pellets didn t help much Hadzik said referring to government measures in June that suspended the sale of wood pellets and firewood abroad However he was lucky because he bought his five tons on time just before prices skyrocketed he said While Hadzik is scheduled for this winter he is looking forward to the prospects for next year If prices remain this high or if there is a shortage of wood pellets he would be forced to switch back to more affordable firewood The price of firewood has also increased but not as much as wood pellets he said Before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine the latter used to be a major supplier of firewood and wood pellets to Europe Now the markets are forced to look for new sources of supply including some 40 Bosnian wood pellet producers The high demand has pushed up the prices of wood pellets and firewood in the domestic market In the latter case the increase has been greater than 50 percent Before the export ban Bosnia was exporting between 500 and 700 tons of wood pellets a day said Muhamed Helac co owner of Drvosjeca His company is the largest supplier of firewood wood pellets and charcoal in the country In early November the governments of both Bosnian entities the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to cap the price of wood pellets at 280 per tonne That s still double the price I used to pay in previous years said Emir Hasanbegovic 56 from Mostar a city about 120 kilometers southwest of the capital Sarajevo This angers him because Bosnia is covered in forests so he expects wood products to be cheaper In previous years he used four tons of wood pellets per season to heat his home But due to skyrocketing fuel prices this is no longer economical she said On Klix the most visited website in the country a pensioner revealed a strategy to keep warm in the most economical way My friend and I spend a lot of time in shopping malls where we meet our friends We drink coffee or tea hang out and then go for a walk looking out the windows This way we could save money to heat our homes and also divert our dark thoughts from the problems explained the retiree Hasanbegovic is one of many Bosnians who are switching to electricity to heat their homes Bosnian media reported on the growing demand for cheaper heat pumps and electric heating devices such as air conditioning radiators and heating fans Subsidized by the state the price of electricity has remained unchanged this year making it a more competitive option for heating homes than previously popular wood products But there is no guarantee that electricity prices will stay low said Admir Andelija director of Elektroprivreda one of the country s three public electricity companies The company will be forced to double the price of electricity for households for the extra part of consumption that is above last year s average Andelija told BHT the state television broadcaster in an interview A sudden boom in domestic electricity consumption may also undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina s role as a major electricity exporter experts have warned Currently the country sells a quarter of its annual production mainly to Croatia and Serbia This generated 450 million euros in revenue in the first nine months of this year according to Elektroprivreda Xinhua
Bosnians struggle to stay warm in winter.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

– Over the last decade, wood pellets have become a very popular fuel for heating homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a country with almost two-thirds of its territory covered by forests.

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But with pellet prices tripling this year, many Bosnians now regret the money they spent installing expensive pellet boilers.

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Alija Hadzic, a 61-year-old forest worker from Sarajevo, is one of them.

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When he installed his boiler in the basement of his house in 2021, he was able to buy a ton of wood pellets for around €150 (US$154). Now, prices are around 450 euros per tonne and more, if one is lucky enough to get it.

“Even the ban on the export of wood pellets didn’t help much,” Hadzik said, referring to government measures in June that suspended the sale of wood pellets and firewood abroad.

However, he was lucky because he bought his five tons on time, “just before prices skyrocketed,” he said.

While Hadzik is scheduled for this winter, he is looking forward to the prospects for next year. If prices remain this high, or if there is a shortage of wood pellets, he would be forced to switch back to more affordable firewood.

“The price of firewood has also increased, but not as much as wood pellets,” he said.

Before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the latter used to be a major supplier of firewood and wood pellets to Europe. Now the markets are forced to look for new sources of supply, including some 40 Bosnian wood pellet producers.

The high demand has pushed up the prices of wood pellets and firewood in the domestic market. In the latter case, the increase has been greater than 50 percent.

Before the export ban, Bosnia was exporting between 500 and 700 tons of wood pellets a day, said Muhamed Helac, co-owner of Drvosjeca. His company is the largest supplier of firewood, wood pellets and charcoal in the country.

In early November, the governments of both Bosnian entities, the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, decided to cap the price of wood pellets at €280 per tonne.

“That’s still double the price I used to pay in previous years,” said Emir Hasanbegovic, 56, from Mostar, a city about 120 kilometers southwest of the capital Sarajevo. This angers him because Bosnia is covered in forests, so he expects wood products to be cheaper.

In previous years, he used four tons of wood pellets per season to heat his home. But due to skyrocketing fuel prices, this is no longer economical, she said.

On Klix, the most visited website in the country, a pensioner revealed a “strategy” to keep warm in the most economical way.

“My friend and I spend a lot of time in shopping malls, where we meet our friends. We drink coffee or tea, hang out, and then go for a walk, looking out the windows. This way we could save money to heat our homes and also divert our dark thoughts from the problems,” explained the retiree.

Hasanbegovic is one of many Bosnians who are switching to electricity to heat their homes. Bosnian media reported on the growing demand for cheaper heat pumps and electric heating devices such as air conditioning, radiators and heating fans.

Subsidized by the state, the price of electricity has remained unchanged this year, making it a more competitive option for heating homes than previously popular wood products. But there is no guarantee that electricity prices will stay low, said Admir Andelija, director of Elektroprivreda, one of the country’s three public electricity companies.

“The company will be forced to double the price of electricity for households for the extra part of consumption that is above last year’s average,” Andelija told BHT, the state television broadcaster, in an interview.

A sudden boom in domestic electricity consumption may also undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina’s role as a major electricity exporter, experts have warned. Currently, the country sells a quarter of its annual production mainly to Croatia and Serbia. This generated 450 million euros in revenue in the first nine months of this year, according to Elektroprivreda. ■

(Xinhua)

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