November 1, 2012

Post Sandy, CT extends its anti-gouging shield

Connecticut's attorney is extending the state's safeguards against potential price gouging on fuels, such as heating oil and gasoline, until Nov. 10, citing supply concerns caused by Superstorm Sandy.

George Jepsen said Thursday the protections, called a notice of abnormal market disruptions, bars fuel dealers from charging significantly higher prices for their product during the ordinary course of business.

This particular protection applies to energy sources including gasoline, propane, heating oil, natural gas, electricity, and wood fuels, Jepsen said. Violators are subject to penalties.

Connecticut has had these protections in place since Aug. 3 due to a new law about the rising wholesale price of gasoline. Those protections were to expire Saturday, but Jepsen will use his statutory authority to extend them an extra week.

Jepsen said the extension is justified because of the potential for disruptions in the flow of fuel supplies as a result of extensive coastal damage, flooding and power outages from Sandy.

Connecticut currently has no fuel shortages, but he and state Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein are encouraging the state's businesses and residents to conserve appropriately.

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