Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine addresses the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce about the role of his office (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)
OTTAWA — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office has been in contact with
propane suppliers and is monitoring complaints regarding propane prices
"There's two things we are doing. We're getting a
lot of calls as you might expect," said DeWine, just prior to an address
to the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 4. "When people are
either out totally, or down to 10 or 15 percent, we try to help them. We
can't deliver it ourselves, but we can try to help. The other thing we
are doing is seeing if there is any violation of the law. Ohio does not
have a price gouging statute, per se. What Ohio law basically says is
that it is illegal for someone to sell a product that is significantly
higher than other people are selling it."
DeWine pointed out that
if the price of something goes up and it is doing so everywhere, there
is no legal violation. "If someone is servicing customers and there is
no place else to go, and their unconscionably kicking up the price, and
other suppliers or wholesalers around them are not doing that, that
could be a violation of law."
Those who do suspect the latter should call his office, 800-282-0515, advised DeWine. "We'll look into it," he said.
As of Feb. 4, Putnam County Job and Family Services may be able help
those who find themselves in the cold and without the means to safely
warm themselves, regardless of the type of heating fuel needed to do so.
have expanded our Prevent, Retention and Contingency program to to
assist families with minor children in the home," said Steve Ford,
assistant director for Putnam County Job and Family Services. "If
they're under 200 percent of the poverty level, we can assist. We are
now going to be able to help with all heating types up to $750."