While the American tradition of “Black Friday” sales in late November has started to spread to Poland in recent years, it is most often associated with consumer goods stores.
This year, however, Poland’s largest mining company, the state-owned Polish Mining Group (PGG), has decided to join in, offering a 200 zloty (€46) discount for every tonne of coal bought by customers in its online shop.
“The PGG SA online store decided to participate in the Black Weeks campaign for the first time in history,” announced the firm on social media. In Poland the period of discounts at this time of year is usually referred to as “Black Week(s)”.
Klienci sklepu internetowego @PGG_SA ⚒️ mogą od 13 listopada 2023 r. kupić węgiel po obniżonych cenach. Ale to nie koniec niespodzianek przygotowanych na ten sezon grzewczy. Wkrótce z okazji Black Weeks uruchomiony zostanie w e-sklepie specjalny kod, którego wpisanie przy zakupie… pic.twitter.com/O6vhP1VhzH
— Polska Grupa Górnicza S.A. (@PGG_SA) November 17, 2023
Poland is Europe’s most coal-dependent country, with the fossil fuel generating around 70% of electricity and being used to heat around one third of homes.
PGG – which is the EU’s largest producer of hard coal – began selling coal to consumers online in 2020 amid the pandemic. While last year saw prices soar amid coal shortages in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the firm’s current promotion follows other recent price cuts amid weak demand.
Last week, household coal prices at the PGG retail shop fell by up to 200 zloty, to between 1,100 zloty and 1,550 zloty per tonne, depending on the type. From today, the firm has added an extra 200 zloty discount per tonne for its “Black Weeks” promotion.
Poland has been rated as the EU’s least green country in a new ranking.
The EU-funded study takes into account the state of the environment, its effects on quality of life, and efforts to address climate issues https://t.co/hKyeucSzBl
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) November 5, 2022
Normally at this time of year it would be more usual for prices to rise as heating season begins.
“The market is now saturated and PGG is probably [only] selling about a third of its production,” the unnamed owner of a coal trading company in Silesia, Poland’s coal heartlands, told news service Portal Samorządowy.
Last year, Polish households stockpiled coal, expecting a difficult winter amid the global energy crisis. Price soared to as much as 3,500 zloty a tonne. However, a relatively warm winter prevented shortages, but also left trading companies with unsold stock.
At the end of the first half of this year, the coal stock in Poland was more than double that of the previous year, reaching 3.3 million tonnes, compared with 1.5 million tonnes at the same stage of 2022, data from the Industrial Development Agency (ARP) shows.
Due to the energy crisis, Poland will not only delay its phaseout of coal but plans to increase production, including opening new mines, says the climate minister.
Coal generates 70% of Poland’s power – the most in the EU – and heats one third of homes https://t.co/ovKz9YSjNk
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) November 7, 2022
In the first half of 2023, sales fell by 22.5% year-on-year while production decreased by 16.8%, reported the agency. In June, coal sales reached a record low of 3 million tonnes, 1.2 million less than a year earlier and 0.5 million less than in May 2020, when the previous record was set.
According to Statistics Poland (GUS), a state agency, 36.5% of Polish households used coal for heating in 2018.
In recent years, however, the national government and local authorities have offered a number of programmes to encourage Poles to replace polluting heaters, improve insulation and install cleaner heating and energy sources.
Poland has been Europe’s fastest-growing market for heat pumps for the last three years, a process further accelerated by the energy crisis resulting from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The country is also now becoming a major manufacturing hub for the devices https://t.co/CHKREZtLfl
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) April 28, 2023
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Main image credit: Urząd Miejski w Starym Sączu (under CC BY 3.0 PL)
Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.