Wood Pellet Shortage Across West Michigan

Posted at 10:30 PM, Mar 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-02 22:48:23-05

WEST MICHIGAN – The long winter stretch is causing a shortage of wood pellets across West Michigan.

Homeowners in the area have been finding different means, aside from propane, when it comes to heating their homes.

Many of them, like Matt Perry from Lakeview, use firewood and wood pellet burning stoves to avoid the cost of using propane.

“A lot of people are out of propane, so, they’re resorting back to their pellet burners,” Perry said.

Along with his wife and three children, Perry has lived in his Lakeview home for seven years. During that time, he said he’s never had trouble buying pellets.

“When it’s cold out like this I can’t really run just one or just the other (wood and wood pellet stove) and keep the house really, toasty warm,” Perry said.

Perry’s thermostat hovered just over 60 degrees Sunday night. He said without the pellet stove, his home was about 6 degrees cooler than normal.

“This has been the coldest winter since I lived in this house,” Perry said.

FOX 17 contacted the Lowe’s on Plainfield Avenue in Grand Rapids. Not only is the store out of wood pellets, they said they’re not likely to get anymore in.

Family Farm & Home also located on Plainfield Avenue, sold out of their last bag Sunday night.

“We generally have around 1,100 bags, which is about 6 tons, in stock all the time but we’ve been getting pellets all the way from Missouri just to keep them in stock,” store manager, Mike Slimmen said.

In his five years working at the store, Slimmen can’t remember a winter where they’ve had such a high demand for the product.

“We normally try to get them from Holland…they’re out,” Slimmen said. “We get them from down in White Pigeon..they’re out.”

The shopper who bought the last three bags at the store said he was hoping to go home with a much bigger supply.

“I was hoping 15 more bags might at atleast get me through the month,” Wayne Monroe, from Cannonsburg said.

As for Perry, he’s going to begin the search again on Monday, before moving on to his last resort.

“I hate to hear that propane furnace kick on…it just pains me,” Perry said.

Family Farm & Home plans to get another shipment of wood pellets next week.