AG: Propane gouging complaints skyrocket

INDIANAPOLIS - For Hoosiers dependent upon propane to heat their homes, this winter has been an especially tough season.

Supplies were limited nationwide, and as deliveries became difficult and prices skyrockets, price gouging complaints began slowing into the state attorney general's office.

The AG's office initially reported that it was investigating five businesses. The Call 6 Investigators have learned that number has mushroomed to 72 this week. Investigators said that number may decrease once each provider's supplier is determined.

Once that challenge is resolved, providers will have to justify their pricing.

Three weeks ago, Gov. Mike Pence stepped up efforts to deal with the propane shortage by declaring an energy emergency. The governor estimated that 500,000 Hoosiers use propane to heat their homes.

New numbers obtained by RTV6 show that, among other complaints, 26 Hoosiers reported to state regulators that their provider refused to deliver propane.  And in four of those cases, people had contracts to pay for propane at a specific price – a deal in black and white that they say was not honored.

The attorney general's office has set up a hotline to help people in dire need of the in-demand fuel. The office said it can't talk about the ongoing investigation, but wants consumers to speak up if they need help.

"We can contact other suppliers if needed," said Deputy Attorney General Abby Kuzma. "Suppliers are also working with each other to make sure there is propane available."

If you need to file a complaint, the number to call is 1-800-382-5516.

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