Verde Energy touts on its website about how “wiser energy consumption can positively impact both the environment and your wallet.” According to a lawsuit that has been filed it apparently has not come clean about how it charges “variable” rates that can impact the consumer.
On January 31, 2018, a New Jersey resident Ray Marshall filed a class action complaint against Verde Energy alleging that its deceptive and bad faith pricing practices have caused consumers in the State of New Jersey to pay considerably more for their electricity.
According to the complaint, Verde Energy lures the consumers into switching to its service with false promises that it offers competitive market-based “variable” rates for electricity that are supposed to fluctuate monthly based on the underlying wholesale market rate and save money on the customers’ electricity bills. The Terms of Service by Verde Energy allegedly cause customers to believe that its rates will be commensurate with market conditions, that is – the prices will go up when wholesale prices rise, and the prices will go down when wholesale prices decrease – thereby enabling consumers to take advantage of market lows.
However, according to the lawsuit, this is not what happens in practice. The complaint alleges that Verde Energy charges high rates for electricity regardless of fluctuations in the underlying market price for electricity. According to the complaint Verde Energy charged a rate that is 80% higher than the local utility company PSE&G’s rate and more than triple the wholesale rate.
The complaint alleges that Verde Energy has used its so-called “variable” rates as an unlawful scheme to fleece New Jersey consumers of millions of dollars by increasing the rates charged to the customers when wholesale prices rose, but staying at a level almost four times the wholesale market rates when the wholesale prices fell.
The complaint seeks to represent the following putative members in this class action:
All persons enrolled in a Verde Energy USA, Inc., variable rate electric plan in connection with a property located within New Jersey at any time within the applicable statutes of limitations preceding the filing of this action through and including the date of class certification
The class action lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, actual damages and refunds, treble damages, punitive damages against Verde Energy USA, Inc. for violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”), N.J.S.A. 56: 8-1 et seq. and the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”), N.J.S.A. 56:12-14 et seq. as well as breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment under common law.
The case is Marshall v. Verde Energy USA, Inc., Case No.: 2:18-cv-01344-JMV-JBC. The Plaintiff is represented by JTB Law Group, LLC and Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C.
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