Perdue extends Anti-gouging measures (Call 800-869-1123) - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Perdue extends Anti-gouging measures (Call 800-869-1123)

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September 29, 2005
From the office of the governor

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today a two-week extension of the state’s price gouging statute to protect Georgia consumers from unlawful increases in gas prices and other products.

The shut down of refineries and pipelines in preparation for Hurricane Rita has resulted in reduced fuel supply, particularly with diesel fuel. The extended gas gouging safeguard will now expire at midnight on October 14, 2005.

“Most gas retailers in Georgia have maintained fair prices, reflecting the basic law of supply and demand,” Governor Sonny Perdue said. “We will continue to protect Georgians from the small minority of businesses who may try to exploit an already difficult situation.”

Decreased gasoline and diesel fuel supplies are resulting in price increases driven by market forces. As retailers pay more for their supply, prices can increase in accordance with traditional markup rates. For example, a retailer may increase the price of their products as is necessary to replenish their existing daily stock at current market rates, maintaining the same markup percentage he or she applied prior to the enactment of the price gouging statute.

The Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs continues to monitor and investigate incidences of price gouging. The public is encouraged to report any suspected incidences of excessive prices at www.gasgouger.org or by calling (404) 651-8600 or (800) 869-1123. Any violators of Georgia ’s price gouging statute will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

The Governor signed an Executive Order on Friday, September 23, eliminating non-essential state travel and requiring more participation in the state’s Work Away program that provides alternative work schedules or telecommuting options for all state employees where possible. This includes four-day, ten-hour work schedules, telecommuting and other alternative work schedules for certain state employees.

The following are specific examples of additional steps taken by agencies to conserve fuel:

Georgia Department of Transportation – The department has added 295 employees to its teleworking program, and implemented a four-day work week throughout the department where possible. DOT will have 3605 out of 5800 employees statewide working four 10 hour days. With average commute currently being 30 miles one way and an average of 20 miles/gallon, DOT predicts its employees will save 10,815 gallons of gasoline per week.

Department of Administrative Services – Through additional telework and alternative work schedules, DOAS will reduce trips by more than 500 per month and expects to save more than 1,200 gallons of fuel.

Georgia Building Authority – 56 percent of its workforce is transitioning to alternative work schedules, including telecommuting. The agency has also suspended all travel for the immediate future.

Department of Corrections – More than 875 employees are participating in alternative work schedules or telecommuting. The agency expects to save approximately 3400 gallons of fuel per week.

Georgia Forestry Commission – The agency is working to reduce vehicle energy consumption by 15 percent and to increase its Work Away participation to 20 percent of its employees.

Department of Driver Services – The department has increased its Work Away eligible employees from 33 percent to 59 percent.

Department of Community Health – 32 percent of its employees are currently working alternative schedules, working to increase this 10 percent by October 1.

State Board of Pardons and Paroles – The Parole Board has added 28 additional teleworkers and 41 additional employees with alternative work week schedules. Parole officers are traveling from their homes into the field supervising parolees, instead of beginning and ending their work days from local parole offices across the state, thereby eliminating unnecessary trips.

Department of Juvenile Justice – All employees not assigned to a secure facility are working a compressed work week schedule until further notice.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation – Appropriate personnel are teleworking to the maximum extent possible and non-sworn personnel unable to telework are on a four-day work week.

Governor Perdue asked all state school systems to take two “early snow days” on Monday, September 26 and Tuesday, September 27. By taking two early snow days, school systems saved more than 225,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day. Four consecutive days of school building closures, from Saturday to Tuesday, led to further heating and cooling energy conservation.

The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) has saved approximately 500,000 gallons of fuel by not topping off the state’s fuel storage capacity. Through the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), Governor Perdue requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue an extension of waivers for gasoline regulations that require special additive gasoline in the summer months. Waiving this requirement allows gasoline suppliers to bring available gasoline into Georgia to help alleviate shortages and keep prices to a minimum.

EPA has extended the relief provided from this waiver through midnight on October 25, 2005. Governor Perdue encouraged private sector citizens to carpool by logging onto the web site of the Clean Air Campaign, www.cleanaircampaign.org , to find information on carpooling programs.

The Clean Air Campaign reports that applications for their program have more than doubled in September compared to August from 891 applications to 1,868. Prior to the recent increased emphasis on the Governor’s Work Away program due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the state of Georgia was already saving fuel by encouraging state employee participation in telecommuting and alternative work schedules.

During the month of August 2005, Georgia state agencies report saving 184,977 gallons of fuel, assuming an average of 20 miles per gallon and an avoidance of 3,699,557 miles driven.