Coal Getting Expensive Vs NG

lobsterman
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 1:31 am

My friends, I am coming to the end of a good run. For the last three years I have managed to scrounge free coal to generously heat my house. I have just done a comparison of residential natural gas prices in my area which are historically low right now and coal prices which are very high in SE Massachusetts. Wow, it is going to be very painful to buy coal! The two prices are very close, with huge practical factors going in favor of NG and the convenience of forced hot water. That said, I am not thinking of giving up coal; I like my beautiful antique stove. When I am forced to buy coal next year, I will probably severely limit my consumption to about 1.5 ton per year, i.e. run the stove at 30 lbs per day times 100 days and do the rest of the heatlng with NG. The gas costs can be kept low because it is easy to turn the heat low when nobody is home and also the house is zoned to put the heat efficiently where it is wanted. This strategy could change if NG prices surge. I don't think coal prices will ever drop.
Last edited by lobsterman on Sat. Apr. 01, 2017 5:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Moved to Anthracite Coal News and General Discussion


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Richard S.
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 5:40 am

Blashphemy! :lol:

Can't say I blame you. Don't get rid of that stove even if you decide to go with all NG. The natural gas prices are going to come back up. They'll be much cheaper and more stable than they have been in the past but I wouldn't get comfortable with the low price.

Image

You may even see a decent reduction in the coal price this summer. I know in the Fall the one breaker here was running a really good price and that tells me that they have a lot of coal on hand.

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Freddy
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 5:55 am

I understand. But.... in Saturdays newspaper they had quite an article about how we should be prepared to accept rising gas prices. They gave about 57 whiny reasons why gas was going to be going up up up. Every reason seemed to me to be "We have you in a good position to extract profits now". SO.... if you can, not only keep the coal stove, but keep a stock of coal. Then as you mentioned you can pick & choose which fuel saves you the most money.

I think someone should invent a new type of stove that burns a new type of fuel, a free fuel.... how about a "empty water bottle burner"? Or, a "newspaper burner"? Oh, I think they have those.....they call them a wood stove.

Oysterboy
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 6:01 am

Yeah I hear you!
I live over on the Vineyard and they want $14 for a 40 lbs. bag. I pick up a pallet at Aubuchon Hardware for around $430. That's still a lot cheaper than feeding my 30 year old furnace with oil. I use about 80 bags a winter to keep the house at 75.

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Richard S.
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 6:16 am

Freddy wrote: Or, a "newspaper burner"? Oh, I think they have those.....they call them a wood stove.
There was a news article I read once where the guy purposely got himself on as many junk mail lists as possible. He burned it for fuel.

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Richard S.
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 6:19 am

Oysterboy wrote:That's still a lot cheaper than feeding my 30 year old furnace with oil. I use about 80 bags a winter to keep the house at 75.
Some people don;t have choice for NG, it's either oil, coal, propane or wood/pellets. That is and always be the core customers for coal.

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blrman07
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 6:22 am

If I had NG at my place I would convert to NG also. It is cheaper than coal right now but If you look at history, it won't stay that way.

We are all trying to save some cash so If NG is cheaper go with it BUT do not get rid of your coal burner and the stash of coal.

Remember that NG fired furnaces and boilers need electricity to run. Keep the coal as a backup emergency system.

Rev. Larry

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titleist1
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 7:12 am

I stopped twice last week for a pick'emup load of coal and was surprised to see the price had dropped $5 per ton from the last time I got it right after Christmas. Went from $225 to $220...not much but it was a move in the right direction.


katman
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 8:18 am

We have a LNG terminal in the Chesapeake that was originally built back in the later 70s or early 80s to receive imported natural gas. I understand the owners want to convert it to fill ships for the export market, and several similar terminal proposals are under consideration. Apparently even with shipping costs added in and debt service on new tankers and terminals, our natural gas is still cheaper (and cleaner) than alternatives for generating energy. China will probably be a big market if they get serious about reducing smog. While they may have their own untapped sources, our gas would give them time to develop their fields and help bring more power plants they need online. Once the gas companies start exporting, NG will prices will be set on the international market. Locally supplied may still be cheaper because of reduced transportation costs, but it will be much higher than it is now.

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stoker_RI
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 9:09 am

Richard S wrote:Some people don;t have choice for NG, it's either oil, coal, propane or wood/pellets. That is and always be the core customers for coal.
Here in NW RI we have the worst of both worlds!...we can't get cheap coal locally, like you guys in NEPA, and there are no NG lines up this way.

The cheapest you can get a ton of coal (IF you pick it up) is 299/ton. NG is 9/mcf!...if you run those numbers, you will see that coal is $15.57/mmbu and NG is $10.91/mmbtu! NG has the edge by 30% !! And that is not factoring in the travel expense and time to pick up the coal, or worse, the fee to have it delivered!

Its a shame really that coal has to be so much more expensive here than the PA area...geologically speaking, its 4.5 hours away! Its not like it's comming from The Yukon!...lol

lobsterman
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 9:20 am

Oysterboy wrote:Yeah I hear you!
I live over on the Vineyard and they want $14 for a 40 lbs. bag. I pick up a pallet at Aubuchon Hardware for around $430. That's still a lot cheaper than feeding my 30 year old furnace with oil. I use about 80 bags a winter to keep the house at 75.
Wow, gotta love the Vineyard prices! :) The Aubuchon price by the pallet, however, is about the same as they are asking on Cape Cod, $425 per ton. The lowest I have seen in the coastal region lately is $320 per ton bagged and that involves some driving and hauling. The large garden centers that handle a lot of solid fuels are coming in at around $380 a ton.

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 9:43 am

I can't get Natural gas where I live, otherwise I would if pricing was comparably close.. BUT I can benefit from lower coal prices if natural gas helps drive the price of coal down 8-)

................................................ :woot:

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stoker_RI
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 10:18 am

Lightning wrote:I can't get Natural gas where I live, otherwise I would if pricing was comparably close.. BUT I can benefit from lower coal prices if natural gas helps drive the price of coal down 8-)

................................................ :woot:
I can't EVER see that scenario happening here! coal market share compared to NG wouldn't even register out this way! Do you really think that could happen out your way? Do you have a feel for what % of fuel is being used by customers?

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Keepaeyeonit
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 11:13 am

I take Pity on you guys in the New England area,I don't know what the cost of living is but it must be high! I live in NE Ohio and can get coal delivered to me for $240.00 to $260.00 a ton tax and all from a dealer.You guys have beautiful country up there but holy *censored* :shock: on the prices of stuff.Keepaeyeonit

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Lightning
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Post Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 11:24 am

stoker_RI wrote:
Lightning wrote:I can't get Natural gas where I live, otherwise I would if pricing was comparably close.. BUT I can benefit from lower coal prices if natural gas helps drive the price of coal down 8-)

................................................ :woot:
I can't EVER see that scenario happening here! coal market share compared to NG wouldn't even register out this way! Do you really think that could happen out your way? Do you have a feel for what % of fuel is being used by customers?
Richard S. wrote:You may even see a decent reduction in the coal price this summer. I know in the Fall the one breaker here was running a really good price and that tells me that they have a lot of coal on hand.
The mayor seems to think so :D


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