Green Star Energy reviews are of paramount importance when valuing trustworthiness given its short experience in the UK market compared to its competitors. Although its parent company Just Energy Group was successful in the US, how does it fair on UK soil? Do their British customers love or loathe them? Green Star Energy reviews reveal all.
Green Star Energy’s fluctuating customer score
Green Star Energy’s reviews have been up and down since they first launched into the UK residential market in 2013. When they took on 10,000 more customers from the failed supplier Future Energy in January 2018, sharp fluctuations in customer reviews were noticeable. Green Star Energy reviews in 2017 differed greatly from those in 2016. So why the roller coaster of opinions? Let’s look at the reasons for the escalations and the sharp descents in the popularity of this green supplier. If you want a quick reminder on who Green Star Energy are and what they bring to the energy market, hit the Green Star Energy Guide button below.
What made Green Star Energy reviews go up?
- Newcomers welcome; Fresh faces among the hoard of energy suppliers are usually greeted well from the public initially. As customers become more disgruntled with their traditional suppliers, they look further afield for cheaper and better alternatives. Green Star Energy reviews were scarce on the internet when they first launched in 2013. So with no negative reasons to switch, many customers did.
- Green fingers; As the UK has become increasingly environmentally conscious, this supplier’s green credentials tapped into this trend and rode that bandwagon into the rainforest. Green Star Energy’s website boasts reforestation initiatives in the Amazon Rainforest, while that of the Just Energy Foundation expands on its “sustainable development” around the world. Homeowners loved it, resulting in even more customers flocking to Green Star.
- Low-cost energy efficiency; British households are also becoming more energy efficient in a bid to save electricity and reduce gas and electricity bills. This is in line with the government’s objectives to pull British households out of fuel poverty. Green Star Energy is one of the few suppliers that provide energy efficient gadgets to achieve this. They’re not free but discounted, which bodes well with belt-tightening homeowners.
- Competitive Pricing Claims; Since so-called “green” suppliers have traditionally been tarnished as expensive, Green Star has tried to deflect this with their claims of competitive pricing. It turns out that money-saving households are willing to pay a bit more for greener energy, as long as it’s not too much. Again, with no data from customers to verify these claims, many homeowners believed it, crossing their fingers that the claims will turn out to be true.
What made Green Star Energy reviews go down?
- Inaccurate billing; Many customers have complained about their energy bills being far higher than their actual consumption. The ones that hit the headlines were those that involved bills that were beyond extortionate. One such example was in October 2018 when a Green Star customer, Barbara, had seen her electricity bill go from £492 to a whopping £17,354. Around the same period, Citizens Advice had given Green Star Energy a 2.1 star rating, (currently at 2.3 stars); hardly a big improvement!
- Mis-selling; Selling something to a customer on the basis of misleading advice constitutes mis-selling, which is a civil offence. This is precisely what Green Star Energy was guilty of in September 2018 when they mis-sold their tariffs due to the limited information offered by a price comparison website, Utility Discount. They were fined by Ofgem and ordered to pay out £361,415 in compensation. Ouch!
- Poor response times; The behaviour of Carol Beer, a character in Little Britain who repeatedly spouts “computer says no”, is certainly comical on TV. But it's tragic in reality. Incompetence and poor account management lay at the heart of many customer complaints who couldn’t get the simplest of things changed on their accounts. In March 2019 reports escalated from customers claiming exorbitant response times which led to threats of debt collection.
- More expensive than expected; While consumers expect green suppliers to be a bit more expensive than its non-green competitors, they’re not expected to exceed Ofgem’s price cap. In February 2019, Green Star announced that it will increase the price of its variable tariff to the maximum permitted under Ofgem’s price cap. Sounds lovely... but what about its standard fixed tariffs?
Its Fix for Longer 36m v4 tariff, one of its most popular, is actually £34.34 over the price cap! This makes it illegal to sign up new customers in 2019/20 with this new tariff. Unsurprisingly, Green Star’s perception of value for money among the British public plummeted like a broken rollercoaster carriage in free-fall.
Green Star Energy reviews 2019
To get an accurate estimate of Green Star Energy reviews from customers in 2019, we’ve compiled the scores from some of the leading customer review websites. Here at Selectra we have also included our own score based on customer-orientated criteria. These are the results…
|Customer review website||Rating*|
*The above ratings are accurate as from the date of publication.
Breakdown of review scores
Let’s take a closer look at the Green Star Energy reviews published by Trustpilot, Which? and Google.
Green Star Energy reviews on TrustPilot
Trustpilot reviews have 41% excellent reviews and 36% bad reviews. While the positive ones have used few words to expand on the given opinions, those with negative ones have been very expressive. The inability to receive final bills to make payment was one complaint that cropped up frequently. This was coupled with accusations of inaccurate billing. Poor customer service was another common thread running through the negative comments.
Reviews on Which?
Which? runs an annual “energy supplier satisfaction survey”. Based on their September 2018 survey of 72 Green Star Energy customers, Green Star Energy came 18th out of 30 energy companies. This translated into a customer score of 65% by Which? The breakdown of the result is as follows:
|Phone customer service||★★★|
|Online customer service||★★★|
|Helping you understand and reduce energy use||★★★|
|Value for money||★★★★|
Complaints handling was generally regarded as 'good' or 'excellent' by 71% of respondents. However, inaccurate and unclear billing practices tarnished their reputation, along with poor responses times from Green Star’s customer service team.
The reviews on Google
Google has by far the lowest rating given to Green Star Energy by the supplier’s customers compared to the abovementioned customer review websites. Among the 245 reviews published on Google on the date of publication, the average was a paltry 1.3 stars.
In addition to the echoes of similar complaints cited above regarding inaccurate billing and customer service, the reviews left on Google were more concerning in nature. One customer claimed that Green Star Energy got his address mixed up with his neighbour’s, while another stated that GSE’s engineer had made his smart meter turn dumb. Seven months later and still no definitive solution has been proposed by Green Star to make it smart again.
Selectra’s reviews round-up
Before we reveal Selectra's rating of Green Star Energy, it's important to understand the three-pronged criteria on which it's calculated: price, fuel mix and customer benefits.
1. Review Score: Price
We got a quote from Green Star on the yearly energy costs for a medium household on a dual fuel tariff, namely the Fix for Longer 36m v4 tariff. We compared that price with other price comparison websites and took an average. We then compared that yearly cost to the yearly cap of £1,254 imposed by Ofgem. The further the cost was from the cap, the poorer the score it received.
2. Fuel Mix Score: Renewables
Selectra advocates renewable energy suppliers, particularly those from an array of renewable sources provided at competitive tariffs. Our fuel mix score is based on the percentage of the supplier’s renewable energy sources. The average UK energy supplier comprises approximately 29% renewable energy sources among its fuel mix. The higher the supplier’s percentage, the higher the score it received.
3. Customer Benefits Score: Perks
The supplier was given one added extra point for every one of the following benefits offered to its customers:
- Warm Home Discount scheme
- Smartphone app
- Referral scheme
- Smart meters available
- Smart technology discounts
Selectra’s Green Star Energy reviews rating
Green Star Energy: Customer review score - ★★
Want to know how we rate Green Star Energy as a whole? Head to our complete Green Star Energy guide to see Selectra’s full verdict.