New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigation after his office received numerous complaints from consumers about possible misconduct by propane suppliers.
The complaints were filed over the last week when temperatures dipped into the single digits and wind chill values were below zero across the state.
According to Schneiderman's office, consumers reported that it took days for their propane company to respond to their calls. In other cases, consumers reported that they never received a response from their propane supplier.
There were also complaints about price increases and fees. Some people said they called their propane company for days and finally received a delivery over the weekend, but the company forced them to pay a weekend delivery fee of up to $150 or $200.
Complaints also indicated that some companies refused to fill another supplier's propane tank and told consumers to buy new tanks from their company, according to the attorney general's office.
Schneiderman said Tuesday that his office intervened and helped some consumers get the propane they needed to heat their homes. But, he added, there were "systemic failures" that left many consumers without much-needed fuel.
"I will not allow any business to exploit a weather emergency and leave New Yorkers in the cold," Schneiderman said. "That's why I'm launching an investigation into possible misconduct by propane suppliers across the state, and will not hesitate to take action on behalf of consumers when necessary."
Schneiderman urged New Yorkers who believe they are victims of price gouging or other misconduct by a propane company to contact his office. The phone number for the attorney general's hotline is (518) 776-2000. You may also file a complaint online at ag.ny.gov/price-gouging-complaint-form.
The complaints will help with the attorney general's investigation and Schneiderman said his staff could help resolve individual issues facing consumers.