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WARSAW – Poland has the biggest coal-mining area within the European Union, however the nation now faces a coal scarcity.
That is because of the authorities’s choice to ban imports of Russian coal till April; The European Union’s personal import ban got here into power this month. Earlier than the battle, Russia equipped between 7 million and eight million tons of coal annually – about three-quarters of Poland’s coal imports.
Many of the coal mined in Poland is used to generate electrical energy. A few third of Polish properties are heated with coal, they usually use high-quality imported coal.
Now persons are spending days queuing up in mines throughout the nation hoping to purchase coal.
Tadeusz Brzeczyk, 40, spent every week in line on the Bogdanka coal mine in japanese Poland earlier than efficiently shopping for 9 tons.
“It was price it,” mentioned the paramedic from the close by city of Chem. “The mine sells coal for 1,350 złoty.” [€290] per ton and the most affordable coal I discovered in my metropolis was 2,900 zloty. I want 7-8 tonnes of coal for the winter and the value distinction I couldn’t afford.”
Heavy queues have grow to be large information in Poland – inflicting political issues for the federal government.
Beginning this week, mines are halting direct coal gross sales to discourage line-ups.
Bogdanka spokeswoman Dorota Choma mentioned, “We will serve whoever is in line, however as of Tuesday we’re solely taking written orders and giving patrons a date to point out up and choose up the coal.”
Polish state-owned coal-mining group PGG is shifting to on-line gross sales as of Tuesday, with coal being delivered to patrons’ properties by business companions.
The panic shopping for is a response to rising vitality costs and issues that Polish retail clients won’t be able to purchase coal regardless of the nation’s giant coal reserves.
Polish miners warned in July that home manufacturing couldn’t be elevated quick sufficient to make up the hole. Imports from international locations resembling South Africa or Colombia are growing, however this additionally poses challenges, as coal must be shipped throughout the nation by sea.
One other drawback is that coal, if shipped over lengthy sea distances, breaks down, dropping the properties that make it appropriate for house burning.
Agata Brzeska, who lives in a village close to Wrocaw in western Poland, hopes shopping for coal even for a light winter will set her again 10,000 zloty – thrice greater than final yr.
The federal government lately handed a regulation permitting a one-time handout of three,000 zloty – sufficient to purchase about 1 ton of coal – to every family utilizing coal as a major warmth supply – a complete authorities family vitality program of 10 billion zlotys. as a part of.
For these depending on coal, the subsidy is beneficial, however not sufficient to make it via the warming season with out monetary ache.
“Perhaps you will get a ton in a month,” mentioned Brzynska, who utilized for presidency cash. She mentioned that – even along with her family funds being pretty comfy – she must flip the thermostat right down to decrease it.
This might not be an choice for the estimated 600,000 coal-heated households affected by vitality poverty this winter, mentioned Jacob Sokolowski of the Institute for Structural Analysis, a assume tank.
“Their state of affairs will get considerably worse,” Sokolovsky mentioned. “Their disposable earnings will drop, they will not have cash for different fundamental bills and they’re going to cease heating their properties correctly.”
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