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N.Y. Targets 13 Gas Station for Post-Sandy Price Gouging

The New York attorney general’s office notified 13 gas-station operators of plans to bring enforcement actions against them for alleged price gouging after Hurricane Sandy.

The notices are the first actions in an investigation following hundreds of complaints from consumers across the state, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said today in a statement.

“Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging, and we are taking action to send a message that ripping off New Yorkers is against the law,” Schneiderman said.

New York and New Jersey began investigations into complaints of price gouging by businesses in the aftermath of Sandy, which knocked out power to millions, crippled mass transit and disrupted gasoline supplies.

Schneiderman is also investigating Long Island Power Authority and Consolidated Edison Inc. over their preparedness and response to the storm, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Schneiderman is inquiring whether LIPA violated a state law requiring it to assure its flow of electricity and the accuracy of statements to bondholders about its ability to function under severe conditions, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter wasn’t public.

The attorney general is investigating whether Con Edison, as an investor-owned utility, violated a law requiring it to supply safe and adequate service, the person said.

The 13 stations that received notices are in six counties: Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties and the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, the attorney general’s office said. The notices are the first step in advance of potential settlements or civil lawsuits against the businesses, according to the office.

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