City caps prices

In response to reports of predatory cost hikes since the Camp Fire broke out Nov. 8, the Chico City Council has prohibited price gouging for six months, until May 16.

The ordinance extends a state law that puts these protections in place for 30 days after a state of emergency has been declared.

Under the ordinance, which was adopted immediately at a special meeting Friday (Nov. 16), anybody offering housing, goods or services cannot raise their prices more than 10 percent above the current average retail price (i.e., during the 30-day period preceding the declared emergency), unless they can prove that costs have gone up.

If prosecuted under state law, guilty parties can receive a misdemeanor and $10,000 fine.

So far, investigators from the Butte County District Attorney’s Office have received about 60 tips, but none of those have been substantiated.