NC’s price gouging law goes into effect with pipeline’s shutdown

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/WAVY) – North Carolina’s price gouging law went in effect Tuesday, a day after the governor declared a state of emergency over the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s state of emergency suspends motor vehicle fuel regulations “to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state,” according to a news release from his office.

Even though state officials urged people not to “panic buy,” gas stations in northeast North Carolina are running empty.

The shortages began Tuesday afternoon. By 5 p.m. almost every gas pump was empty. Some people 10 On Your Side spoke to drove down from Virginia in search of gas, only to be disappointed.

The Colonial Pipeline, which was shut down Friday by a ransomware attack, is a primary fuel pipeline for North Carolina.

“The hackers who breached Colonial Pipeline’s systems have made it harder for hardworking North Carolinians to go about their lives, but I will not allow businesses to take advantage of this incident to charge excessive prices,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “North Carolina’s price gouging law is in effect – please let my office know if businesses or people might be trying to profit off this situation so we can hold them accountable.”

The price gouging law prevents businesses from charging unreasonable prices for goods or services to profit from a state of emergency.

“In some cases, businesses and industries that are heavily impacted by the incident causing the state of emergency have a reasonable need to increase prices in order to resupply, but they should disclose these increases and allow people to make informed purchasing decisions,” Stein’s office said in a release.

Also Tuesday, Cooper said he spoke with U.S. Department of Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm about the impacts of the attack on the pipeline.

“I have talked today with federal officials including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and we have a full court press to get the Colonial Pipeline back up and fully operating quickly. Report price gouging and please don’t rush to top off your tanks,” Cooper said.

Please report potential price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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