BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Hundreds of Tehachapi residents said they are struggling to heat their homes because of the lack of heat pellets available in Tehachapi and the the Kern County area.
Pellets are essentially compressed woodchips that are used in pellet burning stoves to heat cabins or homes that do not have a centralized heating system. They also are more fuel efficient than some centralized heating systems according to Tehachapi Pioneer True Value store manager Aleshia Culpepper.
Since Saturday 23ABC News has been reaching out to stores to find out how this happened. Culpepper told 23ABC News, "We order every week so that we can keep up with the demand of our customers. However, our manufacturer of our pellets had a shortage in product due to the cold vortex in the northwest and here in California where it has been unseasonably cold for a greater extended period of time."
Many other store managers in Tehachapi and Bakersfield also told 23ABC News the same thing, that pellet distributor, Lignegtics notified stores about their shortage in supply and that is why many stores are still waiting on their shipments. Some stores in Bakersfield even told 23ABC News that they are either out or no longer ordering new shipments this year. As of now pellets are still available on Amazon.
"Last year we sold 350 pellets and this year we have sold 1,300 pellets to residents so far. Which was a lot more than we were expecting. As of right now I should have a shipment on March 19," Culpepper said.
Lindsey Mason a mother who also lives in Tehachapi told 23ABC News, "I have a 1-year-old and 4-year-old who stay at home with my husband whom is a disabled veteran. Pellets are our only source of heat and running out our house freezes. My kids are freezing and we cant find pellets anywhere."
23ABC News reached out to Lignegtics pellet distributing company but we have not heard back.