West Virginia AG warns of price gouging in snow emergency

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s attorney general is warning against price gouging during a state of emergency that took effect on Tuesday due to winter weather.

Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in four western counties where an ice storm caused tens of thousands of power outages and knocked trees onto roads.

The declaration Tuesday for Cabell, Lincoln, Putnam and Wayne counties allows the National Guard to assist in storm-related response. More than 60% of Appalachian Power customers in the four counties lost service.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office said price gouging laws in the state prohibit any person, business or contractor from raising the price of certain items by more than 10% of their listed price 10 days before the emergency took effect. That includes any “food items, essential consumer items and emergency supplies,” according to his office.

Price gouging laws remain in effect until the emergency declaration is lifted or 30 days, whichever is longer, subject to limited exceptions.

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