Subpoenas in AG’s propane price investigation

Andrea Clark's snow-covered propane tank in Kalamazoo. (Jan. 30, 2013)
Andrea Clark's snow-covered propane tank in Kalamazoo. (Jan. 30, 2013)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Attorney General’s Office has filed for civil subpoenas that would require AmeriGas to cooperate with an investigation into propane price-gouging.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office is investigating complaints about high propane costs that may have constituted violations of the state Consumer Protection Act, a Thursday release said. Schuette said his office received more than 400 complaints this winter against propane providers, 44 of which were against AmeriGas.

The petition for the subpoenas was filed on May 9 in Marquette County Circuit Court. They would require AmeriGas  — the nation’s largest residential propane supplier –to turn over documents and testimony in connection to the investigation.

The Attorney General’s Office says it has evidence that some AmeriGas customers were charged about $7 per gallon for propane in February. At the time, the average cost in Michigan was only about $3.76.

Additionally, some AmeriGas customers who ordered over the phone complained they were misguided regarding what the actual price of the propane would be once delivered, the state said.

This is the second time this year Schuette’s office has issued similar subpoenas in its price-gouging investigation. In March, provider Ferrellgas, Inc. was named in similar court documents — though the investigation into that company has not yet been completed.

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of price-gouging can file a complaint with the AG’s Consumer Protection Division at 1.877.765.8388 or online.

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