Energy company reviews
Green Star Energy
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 15 of 34
Green Star EnergyGreen Star Energy, formerly known as Pioneer Energy, launched in 2013. It supplies gas and electricity to residential customers in Britain
Green Star Energy was part of the Just Energy Group – a provider of energy solutions to residential and commercial customers across Canada and North America. But in October 2019 Green Star Energy announced that its parent company, Hudson Energy Supply, had been bought by Shell Energy.
It sources 100% of its electricity from UK-backed renewable electricity generators, including hydroelectric and wind generators.
Green Star Energy offers five different tariffs to its customers.
You can find out how Green Star Energy's prices compare with your current deal by finding the cheapest gas and electricity with Which? Switch now.
Green Star Energy customer score
Green Star Energy sits in position 31 out of 35 energy companies rated by 8,355 members of the public in the annual Which? energy supplier satisfaction survey – the biggest of its kind.
Green Star Energy score breakdown
Below, we show the breakdown of Green Star Energy's score from our latest survey. Keep reading for our expert verdict on Green Star Energy, based on our latest survey results and mystery shop investigation.
Find out how Green Star Energy compares with other energy companies – click to reveal the best and worst energy companies.
Which? verdict on Green Star Energy
Green Star Energy scores low across the board in our annual survey, with all six areas receiving a disappointing two stars out of five. It's one of only two suppliers not to get above two stars.
Complaints handling is a clear problem area for Green Star Energy, after a staggering 37% of its customers rated it poor or very poor, compared with 13% on average across all companies included.
Issues with its customer service also became apparent. One of the 22% of customers who said it was poor or very poor in this area said: 'When I raised a problem they were slow to deal with it and the problem now remains unresolved.'
When we tested customer waiting times for energy companies, Green Star Energy was slower than average to pick up the phone. It took 7mins 27secs in our snapshot investigation, compared with an overall average of 4mins 24secs.
However, it was among the fastest to respond when we sent queries via its online forms, taking just 2hrs 24mins, on average. The fastest firm took just 29 minutes, while the slowest took more than five days.
When we looked into energy companies' complaints figures, we found that Green Star Energy had one of the highest levels of complaints per 1,000 customers in the first half of last year, nor was it the speediest to resolve them. Two third or less were completed within two days in the first three months of 2019. The best firms managed more than 80% resolution in this time.
Billing, both its accuracy and clarity, also reflected poorly in the survey. One customer said the billing was 'too confusing'.
Digital tools didn't come off well, either, and unsurprisingly the website was cited as one of Green Star Energy's main problems.
Green Star Energy offers five tariffs, including a pay-as-you-go tariff. Green Star also has an unlimited tariff, but it's only available to existing unlimited customers. This tariff is broken into three groups depending on your energy use – those in the higher-use group will pay more each month.
However, like all the other areas, value for money received another rather poor two-star rating. One customer simply said: 'I'm paying too much.'
Pros: Offers a 100% renewable electricity option
Cons: Customers feel it takes longer than it should to respond to customer service queries
Green Star Energy electricity sources
Green Star Energy in the news
May: Green Star Energy has agreed to pay £750,000 to its customers and the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme for failing to send welcome packs to 7,500 tenants between August 2018 and February 2019, meaning these customers did not have sufficient information about their energy tariff and the other available tariffs on the market.
Green Star also failed to report these issues to Ofgem or offer compensation, despite being aware of their compliance failure.
Ofgem has noted that this is the fourth significant compliance case it had raised with Green Star Energy since March 2018.
October: Green Star Energy was bought by Shell Energy. The transaction (in which Shell purchased Green Star’s parent company, Hudson Energy Supply) was scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.
Green Star Energy customers keep the same terms and conditions of their tariffs, including after the deal's completion, Shell and Green Star both said.
You also still get Perks Reward points.
July: Green Star Energy paid a total of £350,000 compensation after failing renters, Ofgem said.
More than 1,800 tenants couldn’t access their Green Star Energy accounts online and couldn't access cheaper tariffs. So many were left on ‘deemed’ tariffs, which are usually the most expensive.
Affected customers will receive £60 compensation.
Ofgem said that this was the third compliance case it had opened with Green Star Energy in a year. Although the firm was aware of its failings with rental customers, it had ‘neither address them nor reported them to Ofgem’.
February: Green Star announced that it will increase the price of its variable tariff to the maximum permitted under the price cap from 1 April.
This will add 10% on average to dual-fuel customers’ bills, totalling £116 per year for a medium user. This is made up of a 9.4% gas price rise and 11% electricity price rise.
Green Star also said that all correspondence will now be sent electronically. If you want to receive paper bills and letters, you’ll have to pay £20 extra per year (unless you're on Green Star’s Priority Services register) and contact Green Star to request them.
September: Green Star will pay compensation totalling £361,415 to customers who were mis-sold its tariffs, energy regulator Ofgem announced. Some 8,815 people were only offered Green Star Energy tariffs when they visited a particular page on the price comparison website Utility Discount, with which Green Star Energy was working. Cheaper tariffs were available.
From January 2015 to May 2018, ‘Green Star Energy did not ensure that Utility Discount clearly informed prospective customers that it was acting as its representative, rather than offering an independent service’.
Customers who joined Green Star using Utility Discount can switch away without paying exit fees.
Separately, Green Star Energy revealed it failed to send annual statements to some customers between August 2014 and November 2017. Ofgem says Green Star Energy now has systems in place to send statements to most customers and a plan to reach the rest.
July: Green Star Energy announced that it will raise the price of its standard variable gas and electricity deal (called Rate Watch Variable) by a huge 16% from 28 August. This will add around £202 to customers’ bills, on average, per year.
January: Green Star Energy was chosen by Ofgem to take on Future Energy’s customers, after the smaller energy firm stopped trading. Green Star Energy promised to keep prices the same for Future Energy customers until 30 September 2018.
It will also honour credit balances of current customers. Customers who have switched away from Future Energy but are owed money can contact Green Star Energy for a refund.
Green Star Energy will contact all of Future Energy’s customers by 6 February. Customers won’t be charged exit fees if they wish to switch tariff or supplier.