Possible propane price gouging investigation will continue

MARQUETTE – The investigation is continuing into allegations of price-gouging this winter by propane-distributors AmeriGas and Ferrellgas.

“Consumer protection is part of the DNA of the department of attorney general, whoever that attorney general may be,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “It’s etched in stone.”

Schuette’s office has received more than 400 complaints from consumers across the state made against propane suppliers this winter, 44 of which allege misconduct by AmeriGas or Holton’s LP and Rural Gas & Appliance, which are other AmeriGas entities in Michigan.

“We’re going to proceed, be aggressive and thorough,” Schuette said. “It sends a message that if there are allegations of price gouging or ripping people off, that there are consequences.”

A spokeswoman for AmeriGas has said the company is “confident” it did not violate any Michigan consumer protection laws in its dealings with Michigan propane customers this winter.

Schuette recently filed a petition in Marquette County Circuit Court seeking testimony and documents from AmeriGas in his ongoing investigation into possible propane price gouging and other potential violations of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

In March, Schuette filed similar petitions in Saginaw County Circuit Court, requesting information from Ferrellgas, after receiving 65 consumer complaints. Schuette’s investigation and review of information supplied by Ferrellgas continues.

The company has denied any wrongdoing.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal.net. John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is jpepin@miningjournal.net