Energy company reviews
Green Star Energy
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 16 of 33
Green Star Energy
Green 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 four different tariffs to its customers.
Green Star Energy was chosen by energy regulator Ofgem to take on Future Energy’s customers in January 2018, when the smaller supplier went out of business.
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 comes 18th out of 30 energy companies rated by 7,429 members of the public in the annual Which? energy supplier satisfaction survey – the biggest of its kind.
Green Star Energy scored higher than all of the Big Six energy companies.
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.
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 customers mostly reflected positively on its value for money and complaints handling, resulting in a four-star rating for both. One customer commented that the complaints handling was 'very good', while another said 'it's a good tariff' when discussing its value for money.
Some 71% cited its complaints handling as 'good' or 'excellent' – compared with the other 30 companies in the survey it's a reasonable proportion. Only 19% of customers said the same for Solarplicity.
Green Star Energy offers four 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.
All the other categories received a rather average three out of five stars.
Billing, both its accuracy and clarity, were reflected poorly in the survey. One customer said the billing was 'far too complicated'.
Poor response times were cited as one of the main problems with customer service, both over the phone and online.
And when we tested customer waiting times for energy companies, Green Star Energy was slower than average to pick up the phone. It took 7 minutes 27 seconds in our snapshot investigation, compared with an overall average of 4 minutes and 24 seconds.
However, it was among the fastest to respond when we sent queries via its online forms, taking just 2 hours 24 minutes, 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 lowest levels of complaints per 1,000 customers in the first half of last year, but it was definitely not the speediest to resolve them. Just 36% were completed within two days in the first three months of 2018, while only 25% were completed for the three months directly after.
The results show that Green Star Energy has some real room for improvement, but it's important to note that its overall customer score was still slightly above average at 65%, and 77% of customers stated they were satisfied with the firm.
Pros: Offers a competitive tariff and a 100% renewable-energy 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
October: Green Star Energy is being bought by Shell Energy. The transaction (in which Shell is buying Green Star’s parent company, Hudson Energy Supply) is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Green Star Energy customers will keep the same terms and conditions of their tariffs, including after the deal is completed, Shell and Green Star both said.
You will also still get Perks Reward points.
July: Green Star Energy will pay 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 - £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.
May: Green Star Energy launched a loyalty scheme for customers who switch to or are already on certain tariffs and continue to use them.
If you sign up to a new plan you can earn up to 5,000 points (£50 value) and for every three months you stay on the plan, while you can earn an additional 1,000 points (£10) for paying your bill on time.
These points can be redeemed as gift cards for a selection of retailers, restaurants and for energy-efficient products.
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