Balcas Energy Reviews

4.75 Rating 1,568 Reviews
95 %
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About Balcas Energy:

Balcas Energy is part of Balcas, a natural leader in the world of timber.
We opened our first sawmill in 1962 and became one of the largest in the UK and Ireland. Our success came from our knowledge of and respect for timber. In our quest to make the most of every precious tree, Balcas Energy was born.

A co-product of our operations is pure sawdust. In 2004, using natural tree resin as a binder, our engineers pioneered the production of high quality wood pellets.

Originally known as brites, our high grade EN plus pellets have since grown to become 50% of our business. In 2016, Balcas purchased the UK’s largest wood pellet distribution company Forever Fuels and in 2019, with growth in mind, rebranded as Balcas Energy. Balcas Energy is proud to employ some of the most experienced biomass experts in the UK and Ireland and thanks to our advanced Combined Heat and Power plant, both of our production sites are self-sufficient.

Balcas Energy’s Invergordon and Enniskillen sites have production capacities of 100,000 tonnes and 55,000 tonnes of wood pellets respectively. Our operations are so efficient that we put surplus electricity back into the grid throughout the year.

Balcas employs over 380 people and an additional 300 are engaged in forest harvesting and haulage on our behalf.

Visit our Online Shop: https://balcasenergy.com/online-shop/

Visit Website

Phone:

02866411001

Email:

monica.seceleanu@balcas.com

Location:

75 Killadeas Road,Enniskillen,County Fermanagh,

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Customer Service
Delivery
I had to phone many times as I didn’t receive an email to confirm my delivery. I was told different reasons for the delay including the truck had broken down. I need to be around when pellets are delivered so it’s important for good communication to take place. The system does not seem to be working as it use too with Forever Fuels. I would order pellets and get an email within a couple of days to confirm a delivery date. This time I ended up calling Balcas to sort out the delivery. I was out of pellets and ended up ordering Balcas brights from Amazon in bags to get me through. I realise I am just a small household customer but I have been la loyal one for many years. Could you look at the system and how it can be made more efficient as it used to be. David, delivery driver is superb and I will be back because he is so good. He is a big asset to Balcas.
1 Helpful Report
(Mistley) - Posted 1 year ago
Dear Jane
Thanks for your note and letting us know. We are sorry for the difficulties you experienced.
We are looking into what went wrong with your delivery on this occasion and will be in touch.

Kind regards
The brites Team
Posted 1 year ago
Customer Service
Delivery
Very poor communication about delivery. I ordered on the 7th Jan and was told delivery would be within 1 - 2 weeks and that I would get a delivery date shortly. I rang about a week later asking for a delivery date - lady said she would chase it up. Then rang again on Tues 22nd to be told still not scheduled and that he would find out for me. Came back in a few minutes with date of 24th - 2 days later. Left with the impression that if I hadn't chased I would still be waiting. The service used to be a lot better.
Helpful Report
(Okehampton) - Posted 1 year ago
Christopher, sorry to hear of your negative experience. A member of the team will be in touch if that’s ok? R
Posted 1 year ago
Customer Service
Delivery
I placed my original order on 4/1/19 and said we'd like delivery on 23/1/19. I got an email on 9/1/19 saying delivery would be 16/1/19. I declined this as I wasn't in. I then had to chase on three separate occasions about delivery as there was no information, no confirmation email. I was told it would be 23/1/19 but nothing confirmed until the day before. I also wanted to increase the order and the lady I spoke to said this was complicated and made me feel like I was causing an issue. The order hadn't been agreed by that point and I didn't see why I couldn't increase it. It seems that in the space between my order Forever Fuels seems to have been sold or the new team doing administration are taking over but this has been a shambles. I won't necessarily return to use you, at all stage communication has been poor. The only upside to using you is that Gary (the chap doing the delivery) is excellent, messages with a time the night before and is always good at dealing with the delivery.
Helpful Report
(Okehampton) - Posted 1 year ago
Tim, we are sorry you feel you have had a negative experience. A member of the team will be in touch with you directly, very soon. R
Posted 1 year ago
Customer Service
Delivery
Sadly with your prices going up so much and having to wait 3 weeks for delivery slots we have decided to change suppliers. Our first order from you cost £1200 for 5 Tonnes now it cost £1500. What used to take a week to arrive now takes 3! We have found a much cheaper company, with a 4 wheel truck to deliver. It's a shame as we liked having the same delivery driver Gary up here. He was wonderful, friendly and efficient. Real shame Sammie Woollacott
Helpful Report
(Okehampton) - Posted 1 year ago
Dear Sammie, we are very sorry you feel you have had a negative experience lately. A member of the customer services team will be in contact with you very soon, if that is ok. R
Posted 1 year ago
Customer Service
Delivery
Difficulty in paying for order on website. Telephone salesperson not able to take payment. Accounts dept had to ring back. Inconvenient.
Helpful Report
(Okehampton) - Posted 1 year ago
Good Afternoon Craig

Many Thanks for your feedback. I am pleased to let you know that the online payment issues have now been resolved by IT and that facility is now back up and running. With regards to taking payment over the phone our telephone calls are recorded for training purposes etc, so for data protection we can't take your card details. Therefore we ask our accounts department to call our customers as their phone lines are not recorded.

Kindest regards
Claire
Posted 1 year ago
Customer Service
Delivery
Driver excellent ordering wood pellets very poor
Helpful Report
(Avonmouth) - Posted 1 year ago
Dear Mr Payne

We're sorry to hear you weren't satisfied with our ordering processing. I will contact you directly for feedback.

Kindest regards
Claire
Posted 1 year ago
Customer Service
Delivery
Up until we received our Wood Pellet order all aspects of customers services was very good. However once the delivery had been made we found that the quantity delivered was not as stated or what was ordered. I ordered 5 tonnes. Our silo has 5 tonne capacity and our 5 windows are always fully covered when we order 5 tonnes or just shy of 5 tonnes depending on the little that remains prior to delivery! Please explain why we have a ticket confirming 5 tonnes but have clearly not received 5 tonnes. We placed a complaint as soon as Monday or Tuesday of this week following the delivery on the previous Friday. We still had not had a call back from anyone concerned and i chased on Friday early afternoon where i was promised a call by close of business. It took much persistence and frustration on the telephone to manage to get a call returned at 4:45 by a lady rep called Claire. The gentlemen who supposedly assured a call back (Craig) had left for the day without that promised call!
Helpful Report
Posted 1 year ago
Our trucks are equipped with Legal-for-Trade weigh-loaders, certified accurate to 20kg by Trading Standards, and sealed against any tampering with a tamper-proof seal. There is no possibility of a deliberate attempt to charge for the wrong amount. There are two possibilities:

1. We believe the store is of this type - http://www.biomasssilosystems.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/W522-Data-Sheet.pdf - and has an internal volume of 10.16 m3. The bulk density of ENplus-A1 wood pellets can vary from 600 to 750 kg/m3, but in practice is likely to be between 620 and 700 kg/m3. 5 tonnes may therefore commonly vary in volume from 8.06 m3 and 7.14 m3.

The store consists of an inverted pyramid and five vertical sections of equal height. The volume of the pyramid is approx. 1.33 m3. So the volume within the vertical sections is approx. 8.83 m3, or 1.77 m3 per section. Each section is about 0.45m high.

If the store were empty before delivery, the bulk density were 620 kg/m3 and (a false assumption to simplify the initial calculation) the pellets filled evenly to a level, then the pellets would be approximately 80% of the way up the 4th vertical panel.

Under the same assumptions except a bulk density of 700 kg/m3, the pellets would fill to about 30% up the 4th vertical panel.

In practice, the pellets do not fill to a level. They fall away from the central inlet point. So the level at the center of the store will be higher than the average and the level in the corners will be lower. The viewing ports are in a corner and therefore show a lower level than the average. The "angle of repose" will typically be 20 to 30°. We believe your store is 2 metres across (i.e. 1 metre from the centre to the corner), so the difference in height will probably be around 0.36 - 0.58 m. The peak will be as much above the average as the corner is below it, so we need to divide by two to get the difference between the average and the corner, and the viewing ports are not absolutely in the corner, so we need to allow a little for that as well. The level at the viewing ports is probably 0.15 - 0.25 m below the average fill level.

In other words, in the above calculations, with a bulk density of 620 kg/m3, the level at the viewing ports should be around 20-40% of the way up the section/port, and with a bulk density of 700 kg/m3, the level at the viewing ports should be near the top of the third section.

You said on the phone that the silo was filled to "just about past or level with the third hole". Your store has four holes or viewing ports in each of the top four sections. We assume this refers to the third port from the bottom, i.e. the port in the fourth section.

If so, we have filled to a higher level than would be expected for 5 tonnes, if the store were empty at the time of delivery. Of course, the store probably wasn't empty before delivery. The store also probably wasn't empty before your previous deliveries by a competitor. What we can't know is how much was in the store on each occasion. Moreover, you probably don't know that either, because a weakness of this kind of store is that it is not easy to open an access hatch to check the fill level before delivery.

The level visible in the viewing ports is little use to judge the fill level before delivery, because you can only tell whether a port is covered in pellets or not, not how much above it is covered, nor how the pellets are sloping behind a covered port. We can say with confidence that there must have been a material quantity of pellets in the store before every delivery (otherwise the top port would never have been covered). There may well have been more remaining in the store at the time of our predecessor's deliveries than at the time of our delivery. You will remember that you switched to us because we were able to deliver sooner - implying that you were more desperate than you had been on previous deliveries.

The easy/credible explanation for your experience is that your store was more empty than usual, and therefore 5 tonnes rose less far up the store than for previous deliveries. This may have been exacerbated by a difference in the bulk density between the pellets we delivered and the pellets you have previously received.

The store does not have a capacity of 5 tonnes. The manufacturer's conservative estimate is 5.5 tonnes, and that (prudently) allows for a low bulk density and a substantial unfilled void at the top.

You may also have received more than 5 tonnes previously, as the weigh-loaders used by our competitor are not as accurate as ours. That is not something that we are obliged to continue.

3. The alternative possibility is that our Legal-for-Trade weigh-loader has gone out of calibration. To check that, we would need to send the truck away to the mannufacturer for a week for extensive and expensive tests. The cost is in the thousands. This is unlikely to be the cause, but if you insist on verification, we would do so, but only on the basis that you will accept the costs if the tests confirm that the weigh-loaders have not gone out of calibration, as they are very likely to do.

Are you sufficiently confident in your judgment that you have been short-changed that you would like us to send the truck for a calibration check? Obviously, if you are confident, you face no risk of a charge as the vehicle must be out of calibration. If you are not willing to accept your liability for an unnecessary test, then you are admitting that you are less certain that you have been short-changed than you say you are.
Posted 1 year ago
Customer Service
On day of delivery we were informed quantity would be reduced by 25% yet you already had our money for the full amount. Until prompted you were quite happy not to return it.
Helpful Report
(East Kilbride) - Posted 1 year ago
Customer Service
Delivery
No problems with actual delivery, just the length of time that elapsed between placing of order and delivery. The pellet shortage perhaps gave you a dilemma but I think drawing attention to it made customers order pellets sooner than they would have done normally thereby exacerbating the situation.It reminded me of times gone by when petrol shortages were announced which resulted in everybody driving around with full tanks of petrol! Also, your "top up" system doesn't seem to work too well. In just over 4 years, we have been "topped up" only once
1 Helpful Report
(Middlewich) - Posted 2 years ago
Customer Service
Ordered fuel and you gave me a delivery date of one week, the delivery was then moved to another week and the money was taken out of the bank for the first weeks delivery. If I had known this was going to happen I would have ordered the fuel with someone else
Helpful Report
Posted 2 years ago
Customer Service
Delivery
Delivery was due between 09-00 and 10-00 finally arrived around 20-00 in pitch dark. Problem was due to a delivery truck being taken out of service for brake maintenance leaving 2 drivers to work together with one truck and still complete all deliveries. The one remaining driver when he reached me did a magnificent job but was under great pressure. It appeared to me a bad and risky decision to carry on instead of rescheduling.
2 Helpful Report
(Middlewich) - Posted 2 years ago
Customer Service
Delivery
When placing the order you said you would deliver on the 4th. you delivered on the 11th. You also said you would fill the container right to the top if it would take more than 4 tonnes. you only delivered 4 tonnes so I did not benefit from the discounted rate
Helpful Report
Posted 2 years ago
We are very sorry if there has been a misunderstanding. Fortunately, we record our calls, so are able to check if we were responsible for that misunderstanding. When placing the order, you pressed for an emergency delivery at the busiest time of the year, because you had just realised that you had allowed the fuel store to run low. We were clear that we could not give you a specific date at the time that the order was placed. Our transport planner would notify you as soon as possible. You placed the order on 29 Dec. Our transport planner notified you on 2 Jan that your delivery would be on 11 Jan. You replied by email on 4 Jan "Yes, please deliver on Thursday 11th January or before, if possible." On that basis, we feel it is not unreasonable that we delivered to you on 11 Jan.

You may have misunderstood the wording in the order confirmation: "You have requested a bulk delivery...around Thursday, 4th January". As the words state, this is our record of the date that you would prefer, not the date that we are offering. The confirmation goes on to state: "You will receive another email when your delivery has been scheduled. If you want the delivery to go ahead on the date proposed in that email, you must reply to that email to confirm it (following the instructions in that email). If the proposed date does not suit you, you should notify us by email". As noted above, you chose to confirm the proposed date and did not say anything in your confirmation email about it not suiting you. Instead, you chose to wait until you had received the delivery on the accepted date, and then posted a negative review to exact your pound of flesh for the fact that we hadn't managed to save you from your initial miscalculation of allowing your store to almost run out in the depths of winter.

As for delivering more than the ordered amount, that is always subject to availability. We do not routinely go out to customers with spare wood pellets. That would be very inefficient. Sometimes we may have some spare, for example if the combined deliveries on a run do not equate to exactly the capacity of the truck or if one of the other customers on the run has not taken their ordered amount. In that case, if you have requested extra, we will let you have it. But if we don't have spare, we can't let you have extra. That is simply the luck of the draw.

If you can find another supplier that will let you have however much it turns out you can take, at a price and quality that is satisfactory to you, with minimal lead times in the depths of the heating season, we strongly recommend that you switch to them.
Posted 2 years ago
Customer Service
Delivery
The driver didn't seem to be aware of the instructions for access for delivery. He tried at first to come in cab first which failed. At my suggestion he tried to reverse in, but couldn't get the correct angle of turn. He went back out and drove in cab first after some difficulty. He reversed out after delivery but had to to do many small turns to get the truck facing cab out up the track. The attempts at access has left the track verges badly damaged and gouged . Our cattle grid is also bent.
Helpful Report
Posted 2 years ago
Dear Customer

Due to the access restrictions of your site we deliver on our 4-wheeler tanker which is one of the smallest in the market. In the past we have been able to utilise the verge, however due to the wetness of the ground we were unable to on this occasion. The driver attempted to reverse in however the wheels were spinning on the soft ground. He then had to try accessing forwards facing eventually. We are unable to access the property without using the verge. The cattle grid is right at the entrance. The tanker has to come in at an angle and move circa 3-4 times, to align the truck to come in. Looking at your property on google earth I can see that the cattle grid has been damaged previously. The gross weight of our 4-wheeler is 18 tonnes and will need to be able to take this weight.

Our drivers are highly experienced, however this is a very troublesome delivery and down to the drivers skill and assistance from yourself was finally able to get in to your property. We would reccomend future delivers in dry conditions only.
Posted 2 years ago
Customer Service
We have had several years of very good service from Forever Fuels until an unfortunate foul up over an urgent new delivery which we requested on 6 February. We were given a forecast and cost for 9 tonnes in a 4 wheeler delivery but a couple of days later the provisional delivery date had drifted to 16 February by which time we would have run out of pellets completely (our problem, I know). I lined up another supplier who promised the earth and on the back of that cancelled with Forever Fuels. The other supplier then failed to deliver.. so back to Forever Fuels... this time, 8 days after their previous quote the price had increased by more than £30 a tonne - equivalent to a 15% price hike or around £280 on the delivery. The way the final ultimatum was put is that they will refund me (because I have paid up front for the whole lot) if I won't agree their price increase. I don't think this is a sustainable way to do business with customers who you know are dependent on a fuel supply, so 0 marks out of 10.
Helpful Report
Posted 3 years ago
Customer Service
Delivery
Yet again you have not been able to deliver the full quantity that I ordered. I ordered 3.2 tonnes to allow for a small amount left in the 3.5 tonne hopper and you have only delivered 2..8 tonnes. I cannot see why you were unable to deliver the full amount. In addition to this I find your 7-10 day lead time for delivery unacceptable as it is hard to gauge when my hopper will actually run out.
Helpful Report
Posted 3 years ago
Your delivery run was shared between 3 customers, with a combined requirement of 12.2 tonnes. The truck holds approx. 14 tonnes. We had more than enough to deliver what you ordered if you could have taken it. Of the other two customers, one took what they ordered, and the other also took less than they ordered. Consequently, the truck had over 2 tonnes left onboard after all the deliveries.

There are two possible explanations for what happened:

1. We deliberately supplied less than you ordered even though you could have taken it and despite the fact that we had plenty available, because we like selling less than we could do.

2. You can't tell how much your store holds and its fill level, and keep over-ordering.

Common sense says that (2) is the correct explanation, and your comment near enough admits as much: "it is hard to gauge when my hopper will actually run out".

But apparently it is our fault that your system does not incorporate one of the most fundamental components required by the industry guidance on wood pellet storage: a proper access hatch (i.e. one that can easily be opened and used for viewing inside at all fill states).

And apparently it is also our fault that you installed such a small store that you feel the need to run it to the dregs before ordering. You have used around 2.9 tonnes in 80 days during a coldish winter, i.e. around 36kg per day. If you ordered when you were down to around 800kg (i.e. around one-quarter full), you could be scheduled comfortably for delivery without a rush and without worrying about running out, and take roughly the same quantity as you have been able to take in practice each time. But you seem to feel that you should be able to leave it until you are down to around 5% full (i.e. 5 days' notice at your winter run-rate and store size) before thinking about ordering.

We could run enough trucks to make sure that we could deliver to all our customers at short notice in the depths of winter, regardless of the peaks and troughs of their requirements. That level of under-utilisation carries a cost to customers, because the trucks have to be paid for in the limited period that people want heating fuel in the UK (because Brits ignored the advice from Germany to install pellet stores in domestic properties that hold a year's worth of fuel, so that they could be filled up once a year in summer, when deliveries are cheap, readily available, unlikely to be interrupted by bad weather, and when the risks and consquences of letting yourself run really low are much lower).

Given those economic realities, a 7-10 day lead-time in high season is very good. It could be reduced, but keeping trucks sitting around waiting for people like you to order at the last minute would exacerbate the under-utilisation and dramatically increase the cost. If you would like to sign up at £500/tonne, we will see what we can do to shorten your lead-time.

The trucks and drivers are already drastically under-utilised in summer. You, for instance, took deliveries in Nov, Feb and Apr last winter, and then nothing until the end of Nov 2016. Demand at the winter peaks is roughly four times higher than in the summer troughs. You have chosen to expose yourself to these seasonal variations by installing a store that is too small to insulate yourself against it.

Thanks for your review and your custom. You have a legitimate grievance, but not against us. You should take up with your equipment supplier the issue of a fuel-store that is too small for how you would like to operate and which does not incorporate basic features like a proper access hatch. Or you can live with what you have got, and learn to cope with it (e.g. by ordering a bit earlier).

What is not reasonable is to blame your fuel supplier for the inadequacies of your installation, and think that somehow we can overcome economic reality (in the winter lead-times) and physical reality (in your store capacity), so that you can get away with buying an inadequate system without having to learn to cope with its limitations.
Posted 3 years ago
Delivery re-scheduled at short notice 3 times in a row from 16 Dec to 30 Dec to 9 Jan and now still waiting for another re-schdule. Now running on pellet vapour and not happy! No one has called me to explain what's happening, when each delivery has't happened, I have to call to find out what's going on.
Helpful Report
Posted 3 years ago
Dear Mark

Many Thanks for taking the time to feedback to us on your experience of how we have handled your most recent delivery. Please accept my apologies we did not communicate with you to keep you up to date on the progress of your order. As per our email this morning, your delivery is due for tomorrow.

Kindest regards
Craig Leakey
Account Manager (South West)
Posted 3 years ago
Customer Service
Delivery
Our first poor experience but one which suggests FF resource levels are not sustainable : We placed a bulk order on 1 December for 3t for delivery on 20 December. Order processed and delivery confirmed for our chosen date (we were having our Pellet Store serviced). Delivery was cancelled due to operational problems late on 20 Dec and we very reluctantly accepted a guaranteed delivery between 10-1200 next day. As required by FF T&C our boiler was switched off all day 20 Dec and then again on 21 st - the second delivery date was then aborted due driver sickness. Offered a third try today and this worked BUT the promised pre-arrival advice not received, so we were not expecting it! Driver Gary brilliant as usual - the big let downs are over optimistic customer service staff and poor levels of staffing at a predictably peak period.
Helpful Report
Posted 3 years ago
Dear Customer

Please accept that you didn't receive notification that your delivery would be yesterday. As you can imagine the Christmas period is our busiest time of year and like all suppliers we are not immune to operational issues. With over 30 specialist tankers and over 15 operating centres we are offer the best coverage by far than any of our competitors.

Pellet suppliers to the domestic market are stretched at this time of year because the workload is roughly four times higher in winter than summer. We always advise our customers to have a stock of bagged pellets for emergencies or where possible install stores that hold a year's worth of pellets (as is common in the German pellet market) so you can take a delivery in summer when the deliveries are cheaper (both because of the time of year and because larger deliveries are cheaper), the store can be allowed to run empty (as required by ENplus) without the house going cold, the conditions are less likely to cause a delay (e.g. snow), and there is less strain on the delivery capacity so delays are less likely.

Kindest regards
Claire Hoyles
Sales and Marketing Manager
Posted 3 years ago
Customer Service
Delivery
The driver was excellent, and delivered as required, although oddly we fitted 400kg less fuel in the tank this time than the first time and it was empty. The low rating is because when the order was requested I spoke to a lady in the office who said delivery could be made on the Tuesday. Later that day I got a confirmation for the Thursday and after calling to check I was told the Tuesday was not possible, despite it being promised earlier the same day on the phone. The delivery was still made within a week which is acceptable, but don't over promise and under deliver. Regards, James
Helpful Report
Posted 3 years ago
Dear James

Leading up to the Christmas period is our busiest time of year as you can imagine, with lead times of 7+ working days. I am pleased you received your delivery within 4 workings days of ordering and have pellets for the Christmas period.
Kind regards

Claire Hoyles
Sales and Marketing Manager

Kindest regards
Posted 3 years ago
Customer Service
Delivery
you emailed me 2 weeks ago to say a lorry was in my area and did i want a delivery. I called and had a long discussion eg re type of lorry and agreed a delivery date and amount. you didn't turn up. My boiler failed on me ;last week and the engineer found intake pipe blocked by a very long (2") pellet. Otherwise you have been pretty good!
Helpful Report
Posted 3 years ago
Customer Service
I changed from my existing supplier to Forever fuels for 2 reasons. I wanted 12.5 K bagged pellets as the 15 K bags were a bit heavy, and based on the glowing reviews which appear here. I paid the amount due after opening an account and waited for my confirmation that delivery would be on the appointed day. At around 4pm I sent an email as,img when mydelivery would be effected-no response! I telephoned next morning and after investigating was told " the couriers did not have a suitable vehicle" the delivery was eventually made the following when my existing stock of bags was down to one. Is this a "one-off" or do I give FF another chance? The pellets are also more expensive than my previous supplier. Not a good experience for a new customer
Helpful Report
Posted 3 years ago
Balcas Energy is rated 4.75 based on 1,568 reviews