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February 6, 2014

Indiana AG offers help to those with propane shortage

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana consumers who face critically low propane levels and experience supplier issues may be able to get assistance from Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office, according to a press release.  

Consumers whose propane tank’s supply is at 10 percent or less and have trouble contacting their supplier, or cannot find an alternative supplier, can contact Zoeller’s office by calling 800-382-5516.

Zoeller said his staff stands ready to reach out to suppliers on the customer’s behalf to determine the reason for delayed delivery or failure to respond.

“The extreme winter conditions and market forces have created substantial problems for Hoosiers who are trying to keep their families warm, but also for the industry trying to meet the needs of their customers,” Zoeller said. “My office is offering to help customers by following up with their propane provider to mediate delivery issues or by ensuring [that] another provider can be a source of temporary supply, if needed. It is our hope these efforts will help ensure Hoosiers have the fuel they need to heat their homes during this weather emergency.”

Zoeller is also working with the Indiana Propane Gas Association to keep a pulse on what’s happening in the industry and ensure propane suppliers are treating consumers fairly, according to the release.

Consumers are often required to obtain written authorization from their propane supplier to have another company service their tank, but Zoeller said there are exceptions. State law allows customers to bypass the requirement if there is a weather emergency or their regular suppliers fail or are unable to make timely deliveries.

Many Indiana propane suppliers currently work with their competitors during emergency situations to ensure customers are not left without a heating source, Zoeller’s office said in the release.

In instances where suppliers are unable to work with their customers or competitors to meet an emergency need for propane, the attorney general’s office will investigate with the priority to assist the customer to find a supplier to help, according to the release.

“Indiana propane marketers have been taking extraordinary measures to ensure their customers are being served during this nationwide crisis. In the rare occurrence where a customer’s needs are unable to be met, we welcome the Attorney General’s involvement to ensure that Hoosiers will stay warm during this brutal winter,” Scot Imus, executive director of the Indiana Propane Gas Association, said in the news release.

Under the energy emergency declared on Jan. 28, the attorney general’s office can investigate consumer claims of price gouging, and if violations are found, seek injunctive relief, consumer restitution and civil penalties.

Hoosiers who want to report suspected price gouging can file a complaint by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 800-382-5516 to request a complaint form.

 

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