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Verde Energy Review: A Green Energy Provider With Flaws

Verde Energy markets its renewable energy program, but a history of lawsuits and consumer complaints raises red flags.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Expertise Solar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects. CNET's "Living off the Grid" series. https://www.cnet.com/feature/home/energy-and-utilities/living-off-the-grid/ Credentials
  • Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Eric Mack
5 min read
A cell phone showing the Verde logo
Verde Energy/James Martin

Verde Energy operates in deregulated energy markets -- where consumers have energy choices -- in a handful of states in the northeast United States and Washington, D.C. offering what it calls "100% renewable energy electricity and 100% carbon neutral natural gas."

Verde doesn't actually operate utilities or deliver green electrons and gas to people in these markets. Instead, it's what's often called an "energy supplier" that buys energy on customers' behalf on the wholesale market.

This is how deregulated energy markets work -- participating utilities and other energy producers agree to sell the energy they produce into a wholesale energy market and energy suppliers then buy that energy to sell at retail rates to consumers. Customers still get their specific electrons and gas from the same local sources as before but now have a choice in which company they pay for energy.

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We'll help you find the best electricity rates in your area

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with our partner Choose Energy

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This means people living in states where Verde Energy operates can opt to support renewable energy without having to physically put solar panels on their home or worry about where their utility sources its energy.  

To make things a bit more complicated, Verde's model doesn't necessarily ensure it buys sustainably generated energy from the wholesale market. Natural gas is always going to be a non-renewable fossil fuel. Instead, Verde pledges to buy renewable energy certificates to offset its customers' usage. RECs are tied to the production of energy from green sources such as solar, wind, hydro or biomass.  

Kitchen light fixtures

We'll help you find the best electricity rates in your area

Advertiser disclosure

with our partner Choose Energy

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While the market mechanics can be confusing, the bottom line is that Verde moves money and paper around on its customers' behalf to ensure that their electricity and gas payments go to supporting renewable energy production.

Verde Energy started in 2009 in Norwalk, CT but moved to Houston after being acquired by Spark Energy in 2017.

The company agreed to pay $1.5 million in penalties and refrain from operating in the state of Connecticut for seven years as part of a settlement with the state's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority in 2022. PURA alleged that Verde engaged in deceptive marketing practices and initially sought $2 million and a 10-year suspension for the company.  

This follows a separate class action lawsuit involving the company and its customers in New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, which was settled in 2021. 

At the time of this review, Verde Energy hasn't responded to CNET's request for comment regarding these lawsuits. 

The company also has a rating of "D" with the Better Business Bureau. We place very little stock in online reviews, and Verde's BBB score appears to be based on just five reviews, but still, it offers little reassurance. To its credit, Verde responded to nearly all the complaints on the BBB website. 

Pros and cons of Verde Energy

ProsCons

Easy way to support renewable energy initiatives 

Offers rebates and other signup incentives

Minimal fees

Multiple fixed rate durations

Website not the easiest to navigate

Concerning legal track record and online reputation

Source of energy for RECs not disclosed

Does not offer bundled services, home services or variable rate plans

What states does Verde Energy operate in?

Plan TypeService Areas

Electricity plans

Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.

Natural Gas plans

New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania

Renewable energy plans

Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C.

Verde Energy: Types of plans offered 

Fixed rate plans: Verde offers 100% renewable energy-based electricity service at fixed rates. The company does this by buying renewable energy certificates to offset its customers' usage. RECs are tied to the production of energy from green sources like solar, wind, hydro or biomass.  

Unlike its competitors, Verde does not offer variable rate plans or bundled dual fuel plans. Constellation, for example, offers variable rate plans where prices fluctuate with the market. Constellation also offers a bundled price if you enroll with both natural gas and electric.  

Renewable energy plans: All of Verde's plans are sourced from 100% wind energy, hydropower, geothermal and solar energy. Regardless of the source, renewable plans are the best options if you are eco-conscious and want to reduce your carbon footprint. 

Verde Energy: Plan and rate types available

Electricity plans

Plan typePlan type descriptionContract lengthsStates available

Fixed rate plan

Fixed-rate plans have a set price per kilowatt-hour of monthly electricity consumption for a certain duration of months.

Offers 6-month, 12-month, 24-month and 36-month agreements. Not all durations are available in all states and service areas. 

MA, NJ, NY, OH, PA, DC

Variable rate plan

Not available 

Not available 

Not available 

Natural gas plans 

Plan typePlan type descriptionContract lengthsStates available

Fixed rate plan

Rates per therm are fixed for a certain duration of months. 

6-month, 12-month agreements offered

NJ, OH, PA

Variable rate plan

Not available 

Not available 

Not available 

Renewable energy plans 

Plan typePlan type descriptionContract lengthsStates available

All of Verde's electricity plans are fixed rate and 100% renewable energy. 

Verde purchases renewable energy certificates tied to solar, wind, hydro or biomass-based energy production projects. 

Offers 6-month, 12-month, 24-month and 36-month agreements. Not all durations are available in all states and service areas. 

MA, NJ, NY, OH, PA, DC

Bundled plans 

Plan typePlan type descriptionContract lengthsStates available

Not available 

Not available 

Not available 

Not available 

Why it's important to check the fine print

Every plan includes a contract summary. Depending on where you live, this could be referred to as the terms and conditions, term of service or electricity facts label. Before signing an agreement, review the following contract details.

  • Average price per kWh
  • Contract duration
  • Moving or transfer fees
  • Contact information
  • Cancellation/Early termination fees
  • Electricity usage credits
  • Renewable energy percentage
  • Renewal terms
  • Late payment fees
  • Potential usage penalty charges
  • Auto bill pay discount requirements
  • Time of use rates or escalators.
  • Utility delivery charges

Much of this information can be found on the FAQ page on Verde's website. Scroll down to the section titled "Where can I get a copy of Terms of Service, environmental disclosure documents, and other state-specific disclosures?"

Bottom line: Is Verde Energy a good choice?

Signing up with Verde as your energy supplier is one way to ensure that a big chunk of your utility payments go to supporting more renewable energy. There have been complaints and legal wrangling over some of the company's sales and marketing practices, so be sure that you do your own research, due diligence and truly understand what you're signing up for. 

There may be other options out there that could reduce your utility bill more, but if your goal is to reroute some of your energy spending in a more sustainable direction, Verde could be a good start. 

How do I sign up for Verde Energy? 

You can enroll in a Verde Energy plan using the Choose Energy marketplace. To shop and compare Verde to other providers and plans, enter your ZIP code. Once you make a decision on a plan and provider you can enroll online or by phone. 

Electricity rates change frequently and are based on your specific ZIP code. ChooseEnergy.com is a CNET partner site, which, like CNET, is owned by Red Ventures.