Bryan Cohen May 19, 2014, 2:04pm

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced a petition for additional civil subpoenas on Thursday as part of an inquiry into allegedly excessive prices and questionable business practices related to propane costs in Michigan.

Schuette received 44 individual complaints against AmeriGas, the largest residential supplier of propane in the nation. The complaints alleged possible price gouging, failure to honor existing set-price contracts and delivering propane at a higher price than was promised over the phone.

"Let this send a clear message to energy suppliers that we will continue this review until we get homeowners the answers they deserve," Schuette said. "My job is to protect Michigan consumers-it's this simple: if we find that state law has been broken, we will take legal action."

AmeriGas allegedly charged close to $7 per gallon for propane in February, even though the statewide average price for propane was only $3.76.

Under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, a retailer may not charge a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar services or property are sold.

Schuette's petition for subpoenas seeks documents and testimony from AmeriGas as his office seeks information on the allegations of Consumer Protection Act violations.

In March, Schuette issued subpoenas for another propane company, Ferrellgas Inc., after the company allegedly overcharged for propane and misrepresented the price consumers would have to pay. The Ferrellgas inquiry remains pending.

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