Attorney General George Jepsen has issued a warning to gas station owners and other fuel distributors against price gouging.
Jepsen’s office today extended his so-called “notice of abnormal market disruption for energy resources” to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.
The notice, issued under Connecticut state law, puts wholesalers, retailers and consumers on notice that charging “unconscionably excessive” prices for gasoline, heating fuels and other energy resources is prohibited. The notice had been scheduled to expire at midnight Wednesday.
“We have extended the (notice) period because much of the state remains without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. That includes as many as one-third of all gasoline stations, according to recent estimates. It will take days or even weeks for the damage to be cleared and electric service restored. We want to protect consumers during this abnormal period,” Jepsen said.
At the same time, the state’s Department of Consumer Protection is advising residents to conserve gasoline as many service stations across the state remain without power.
“With the gasoline supply emergency extended in Connecticut until Tuesday, I want to reassure residents that a few precautionary measures will assure that fuel supplies are sufficient for normal use,” said William M. Rubenstein, the consumer protection commissioner. Consumers, he said, can help stabilize markets by conserving gasoline.
“I am urging everyone to limit driving when possible and to put off topping off or filling up more than they normally do. These simple actions will keep our fuel distribution outlets running smoothly. We are asking everyone to pay attention to their driving habits, and conserve where you can – it just makes sense,” Rubenstein said.
Jepsen said his office, and the consumer protection department, are monitoring the market and consumer complaints, some of which have already been reported. If anyone suspects price gouging or profiteering, they should call the consumer protection department hotline at 1-800-842 2649 during business hours and at 860-713-6160 after hours and on the weekend; or emailing email@example.com. Please include the business name, its location, and the prices you observed.