Renewable energy supplier Green Star Energy has been ordered by Ofgem to refund £350,000 to customers over failings for renters. Ofgem said 1,829 new tenants were unable to access their Green Star Energy accounts and therefore could not access cheaper tariffs. The problem came as a result of Green Star not updating its records or issuing welcome packs to the new renters.
As a result, customers were unable to move to cheaper tariffs or access their accounts with Green Star Energy. The supplier is to pay £350,000 in compensation to affected customers and to the energy redress fund for its failings.
Ofgem says it was alerted that records of customers in the private rental market had not been updated on Green Star Energy’s systems after a change of tenancy. The customers did not receive welcome packs including account details. This left tenants on deemed contracts – usually the most expensive tariff – unable to access potential savings by switching tariff and/or supplier.
Customers who also tried to contact Green Star Energy may not have been able to clear data protection to access their accounts and check the progress on their enquiries. Ofgem raised the concerns with Green Star Energy and it confirmed the issues raised were valid. Green Star Energy had already been made aware of the issue but had not resolved it, nor had they self-reported the matter to Ofgem.
Since engaging with Ofgem, Green Star Energy has reviewed all accounts and systems, identifying and addressing the problems that led to its records not being updated and welcome packs not being sent. For its failings, Green Star Energy will pay each affected customer £60, a total of £109,740 in compensation, and make a further voluntary contribution of £240,260 to the energy redress fund.
Peter Earl, Head of Energy at comparethemarket.com, said “Blocking people from accessing cheaper deals simply isn’t good enough and falls well below the minimum standards required. Renters are often more disengaged with their energy supplier than homeowners, so getting the basics right is crucial for generating engagement and maintaining confidence in the energy market. Hopefully, this fine will act as a warning to other suppliers and help improve customer service.”