I posted about the same issues back in December, including some pics of the odd coal pieces and the ash I'm getting.http://nepacrossroads.com/post388802.html#p388802
I burned Blaschak bulk nut from the same dealer last year. The coal was all uniform color, much shinier black, and the pieces were more round, not the flat, shale-like pieces that make up much of the coal this year. Last year's coal had almost no fines; this year, fines down to rice size pieces, throughout the load. Last year's coal seemed harder, too--when I dropped a piece on the concrete floor, it seldom broke. The coal I have now, if you drop a piece, it often shatters into three or four much smaller pieces.
It doesn't burn as hot, and I had an issue when the temps got warmer the second week I was burning with the fire almost going out. It has been burning ok during the last two colder months, but I'm really concerned when we get back to warmer daytime temps in March.
I've been meaning to call the dealer and find out if any other customers reported problems. If I find out anything I'll post back.