One of the attorneys general who has spent years crusading against the oil industry is now warning New York citizens that fraudsters might be jacking up gas prices as winter storms pummel the state.
Gas is a “consumer good” that is protected under the terms of a New York statute preventing gougers from arbitrarily ratcheting up prices. The law prevents retailers from charging excessive prices for fuel during weather events that disrupt energy markets.
Citizens should be on the lookout for fraudsters who unnecessarily jack up gas prices, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat who has crusaded against oil producer ExxonMobil in the past, said in a press statement Friday. He has repeatedly championed forcing the state away from gas and toward green energy products.
“New Yorkers should be wary of fraudsters who use severe winter weather as an excuse to illegally line their pockets,” said Schneiderman, who raked in generous campaign contributions from wealthy liberals shortly after engaging in a high-profile probe against Exxon.
“We will not tolerate those who seek to exploit weather emergencies at the expense of New Yorkers. Any New Yorker that believes they may have been the victim of price gouging should contact my office right away,” he added. New York and its hollowed-out energy market is still trying to recover from debilitating bouts of storms in December.
Schneiderman’s comments come as Winter Storm Riley clobbers New York and the Northeast as an intense nor’easter with powerful winds and heavy, wet snow. A recent split of the polar vortex and a subsequent westward-moving high-pressure system in the North is causing the nor’easter to slowly tumble along.
Winter Storm Riley has pummeled the state with enormous amounts of snow – a small tow east of Buffalo, for instance, picked up a whopping 24 inches of snow in 24 hours as of Friday morning.
Other parts of the state reported observing thunderstorm in parts of western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania Thursday night. Nearly 22 inches of snow covered Forestville, New York, while other parts of the state saw around 10 inches.
“Take this storm seriously!” the National Weather Service in Boston warned Friday via Twitter. “This is a LIFE & DEATH situation for those living along the coast, especially those ocean-exposed shorelines.”
A massive arctic blast in 2017 was also responsible for a massive increase in energy prices.
PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization (RTO) responsible for delivering energy to more than 50 million people, was forced to burn record amounts of coal during the winter blast after the price of natural gas skyrocketed during the cold snap.
New England had to import liquefied natural gas at the time from Russia to stamp down high prices, according to a report from the Financial Times. Natural gas prices spiked during the snowstorms. A Pennsylvania county was clobbered with 60 inches of snow in two days following Christmas day – the storm shattered records and required the national guard to help keep the roads clear and residents safe.
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