TRENTON — New Jersey's State of Emergency doesn't keep you off the road — but can help keep you from being ripped off.

Merchants who jack up their prices on services or items connected to the storm like gas, food, hotel rooms or generators will be prosecuted, according to Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.

"The state’s price gouging laws will be strictly enforced to protect consumers from being victimized at a time when they’re at their most vulnerable," he said.

The provision went into effect when Gov. Chris Chistie declared a State of Emergency for Tuesday's storm. Gouging is defined a price increase of over 10 percent higher than before the declaration. It remains in effect for 30 days after the declaration is lifted.

“Division investigators are prepared to take action to enforce the laws to protect consumers from unscrupulous merchants seeking to unfairly profit from their suffering," said Consumer Affairs director Steve Lee.

Suspected price gouging can be reported to the state Division of Consumer Affairs by calling 973-504-6240 or online at at njconsumeraffairs.gov.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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