The Anthracite Coal Market, How It Works

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BDHodosn
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Post Thu. Feb. 12, 2009 10:53 pm

Insofar as I'm new to this commodity...is there an off-season price decrease like the ones we used to see in LP and #2 oil? I cannot remember whether a buddy of mine (anthracite dealer) said there was. Likely I'll be contacting him for what I'll need next winter, but I'm curious about what the (ir)regulars here see in the spring and summer.
Last edited by BDHodosn on Sat. Apr. 01, 2017 1:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: changed title
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Richard S.
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Post Fri. Feb. 13, 2009 12:28 am

Note: I changed your title because I'm going to sticky this thread, this topic comes up frequently.

Generally at the breaker you might see a modest decrease in the Spring, anthracite coal prices have been pretty stable over the last 3, 4... decades. The Increse in the cost of anthracite has basically followed the cost of living index. The usual scenario is late summer/early fall you'll have an increase that is greater than what it was the previous fall. In the spring they might halve that increase. It will steadily increase in price each year but again this has basically followed the cost of living increases.

Now the last few years have been a little "screwey", there was big jump after Katrina, there was no price decrease this last Spring and we had what was the largest increase I've seen about mid August of this year. Now they haven't dropped it since then and you may ask well why not? Keep in mind it was the same price from the fall of 2007 until late summer 2008 or nearly a full year. That price held steady while other fuels skyrocketed over late 2007 and early 2008 and they absorbed the costs. They are just recouping expenses from those months... It's a trade off.

You may not see any great savings in the summer that you might typically find with other fuels however you won't wake up some morning to find the fuel you are using to heat your home has doubled over night either. Personally I'll take stability over the fluctuations you see in other energy markets.

That only relates to the local price, the farther you get away from the source the cost may fluctuate more due to shipping costs. Just to add I'm speaking about one breakers cost, I don't know what others did last Spring but I be surprised to find they decreased it all.
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leowis1
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Post Sat. Feb. 14, 2009 3:57 pm

I had called Blashaks a few weeks ago asking if the price of coal has gone down yet because of the drop in gasoline. She said no. And that they are locked into their oil contract :idea: That statement cleared away all the clouds for me. They locked into their oil last summer when it was $4.80 for deisel. I bet this summer we'll see a big drop. Somebody on these boards astutely commented that the price of coal has to be significantly cheaper than natural gas and oil, or else nobody would burn coal. I think this summer has the makings for cheaper coal.

I sure would appreciate a break. I've just been getting killed with doctor copays for the family, car repairs, and a really cold winter. Just getting nickled and dimed to death.

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BDHodosn
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 1:41 pm

What, then, are typical prices at breakers right now? I'm weighing the cost of truck rental and fuel to make a run east and load up. If I gotta pay $240/ton delivered I'd consider getting my own over a weekend (show up before close Friday afternoon at breaker).
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Richard S.
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 1:51 pm

Prices will vary slightly, right now at Hudson Anthracite where all the pricing is based on from my post above it's $160 but you'll need to call them to confirm that.
leowis1 wrote:I think this summer has the makings for cheaper coal.
I wouldn't hold my breath, I'd be surprised to see it go down more than $10 a ton for the summer. Do you understan where I'm going here? It hasn't gone up much so why would you expect it to go down a lot? And again people far away may see a decent price drop but hat's because the cost of shipping has gone down and is unrelated to the cost of the coal itself.
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EnergyManager
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 2:10 pm

I like to give you a little different perspective on How the Anthracite Coal Market works.

I can remember my father worrying that we would have warm winter or he did sell enough coal prior to the end of winter turn a profit for the year.

And it did exactly that put him and many, many others right out business and put the consumer right into the oil man’s hands. So if you hoping for lower prices, for you the consumer at the expense of the few sources of cheap coal a bargain at on a BTU bases. Then you may soon have no source of your cheap source of heat....

We buy foreign cars because that what is best for me and the H.. with the America workers and we use that foreign oil not that domestic coal because that is what is good for me…… Look around and see what that self centered philosophy has done to our country...

What happen to buy American or don't buy at all.
Last edited by EnergyManager on Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 5:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Richard S.
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 4:24 pm

EnergyManager wrote:
I can remember my father worrying that we would have warm winter or he did sell enough coal prior to the end of winter turn a profit for the year.
Yep, the coal delivery business is a tough business to be in. Lot's of expense, a lot of work and not a whole lot of profit when all is said and done. If I opened up my books and showed anyone the net profit compared to gross sales their jaw would drop if they were in the retail sector... wouldn't be a jaw dropping "I can't believe you make that much" either.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

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BDHodosn
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 7:23 pm

The answers I was looking for were provided here. Thank you for that.

I would like to stress here that I too have a few years in the energy sector, albeit as an employee not an owner. Until a blinded right eye caused me my LP delivery job. I understand from the inside about a supplier's pricing being governed more by costs than any other. In LP it was mainly the wholesale market, and secondarily motor fuel (after converting the fleet to diesel).

I was never looking for bargain basement, screw the supplier pricing. I was only trying to be a smarter consumer and manage my non-existent income better. If the local delivered price drops to < $200/ton I'll be calling my LCY (local coal yard). If not I may be renting a truck or trailer and driving to Carbon county...
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ablumny
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 7:41 pm

Here on Long Island:

My coal "guy" tells me Rice is costing $310/ton today. I paid $280/ton last spring. While I appreciate that coal is stable, I certainly expected a cost decrease based on fuel pricing. His argument why it was $280 last year was fuel surcharge. He didnt see any decrease coming this spring/summer.

Meanwhile, a friend in PA is telling me he was quoted $135/ton picked up locally.

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009to090
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 7:56 pm

Here in Western NJ....
Just paid $239 a ton, for 3 tons bulk delivered, for Blaschak rice.

Chris F.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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ablumny
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 8:09 pm

DVC500_at_last wrote:Here in Western NJ....
Just paid $239 a ton, for 3 tons bulk delivered, for Blaschak rice.
Chris F.
.... an extra $70/ton delivery to Long Island? Maybe.....

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009to090
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 8:21 pm

ablumny wrote:
DVC500_at_last wrote:Here in Western NJ....
Just paid $239 a ton, for 3 tons bulk delivered, for Blaschak rice.
Chris F.
.... an extra $70/ton delivery to Long Island? Maybe.....
Just checked my reciept.... Oooops , I was wrong! I really paid $239.50 a ton, for 3 tons bulk delivered Blaschak rice.
I got it from Aerni & Hitzel out of Easton, PA

Chris F.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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ablumny
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 8:57 pm

DVC500_at_last wrote: Just checked my reciept.... Oooops , I was wrong! I really paid $239.50 a ton, for 3 tons bulk delivered Blaschak rice.
I got it from Aerni & Hitzel out of Easton, PA
Chris F.
Killing me! How about I pay you $279/ton to get it here ! :D

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009to090
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Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice
Location: Warrenton, NC

Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 9:12 pm

ablumny wrote:
DVC500_at_last wrote: Just checked my reciept.... Oooops , I was wrong! I really paid $239.50 a ton, for 3 tons bulk delivered Blaschak rice.
I got it from Aerni & Hitzel out of Easton, PA
Chris F.
Killing me! How about I pay you $279/ton to get it here ! :D
Hahaha, Sorry, I don't have a truck..... Ok, heres Aerni & Hitzel's number. Give them a call, and ask for Delivered costs. MAYBE it might be cheaper than your local dealer? It does get cheaper, the more you order. They gave me a cost-per-ton graph, when I emailed them. (610)-252-5101. Email address: [email protected]

Chris F.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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Richard S.
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Post Mon. Feb. 16, 2009 9:54 pm

DVC500_at_last wrote: It does get cheaper, the more you order. They gave me a cost-per-ton graph, when I emailed them..
That will vary on the dealer, I had a two ton minimum but I'd take 1 ton for small extra charge as long as they wait for it. I'd do take those orders when it was convenient for me when I had room for exactly one ton. 99.9% of the time when I left the breaker I had a full load but you're going no where if you don't. Most of those customers would have it so I could deliver without notice and I'd just bill them or they'd have the check ready.

I'd offer a discount on 5 ton or more as my smallest truck held 5 ton. Basically one rate for anything less than 5 ton and another for 5 or more.
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