Viridian Energy scam; “Network Marketing: Growing fast and often misunderstood”

by Luke Johnson on June 15, 2011

I was doing some research about Viridian Energy when I came across several articles claiming the company was a scam. They said that the company raised rates after the first couple of billing cycles. The so called “Viridian Energy Scam” might be the normal response to an MLM, which are considered by most to be a scam. The Viridian Pyramid Scheme is a little bit different than the Amway or Mary Kay MLM modules which sells a variety of products.

Viridian sells competitive electricity services in deregulated states in the US. Associates make money based on how many customers they obtain.

Is Viridian Energy a scam?

No! Just like every article I have written on this site about so called “scams” like Energy Plus Scam and Ambit Energy Scam when looked at carefully I could tell it was not a scam. Were there things shady about the companies’ tactics? Maybe, but it depends on the individual situations.

Viridian Energy Scam is most likely based on someone signing up with a variable rate plan which almost every electric company offers. The plan can save people money for the first month but can cost more in the long run.

A fixed rate plan is better than a variable plan because it give customers the peace of mind of knowing their rate will not change after the first month. Fixed rate plans have one caveat which is a contract. There is a fee to end a customer’s contracts early.

As for the MLM side of things, most people try to sign up their family members and when something gets missed up everyone is unhappy. I’m not claiming this is what is happening with this MLM.

Viridian VS Ambit

Both companies use the MLM business module to sell electricity. I’m sure they are not the same and since I neither work for them either of them nor represent them, I cannot tell which company is better. I can say Ambit is one of the fastest growing companies according to INC.com. This does not mean that Ambit’s electricity is better than Viridian’s electricity.

Electric Rates does not sell electricity service through Viridian Energy, Energy Plus or Ambit Energy. To see these companies’ rates I recommend going to their websites.

Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson has been writing about deregulated energy markets since early 2010. His knowledge has helped consumers lower their electricity cost. Connect with Luke on Google+.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Cal July 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

“A fixed rate plan is better than a variable plan because it give customers the peace of mind of knowing their rate will not change after the first month. Fixed rate plans have one caveat which is a contract. There is a fee to end a customer’s contracts early.”

I would say this is kind of a blanket statement- fixed rates are better when energy prices (oil) or when demand (winter/summer) are high but on off peak times of the year or if the price of oil ever drops the variable rates would be better. I would like to see a yearly average comparison of rates to really see which plan is better.

admin July 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I appreciate your comment and your prospective. Maybe I should have said “variable rates are lower but can increase after the first month” rather than saying one was better than the other. The truth is they both supply electricity and can save you money.

I have seen several “disappointed” customers leave comments and complaints about variable plans on the web.

Here is something interesting some companies advertise a fixed rate plan that has a “fuel surcharge” built in which means if oil prices increase customers rates can increase.

Again thanks for the comment

Freak August 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Viridian’s rates are currently HIGHER than those of UI. Their pushy “associate” or whatever he was called (a neighbor of ours, we though we’d help him out with a commission) sold us on the “fact” that Viridian’s rates were better than UI’s. They were at first. Not any more. they are the HIGHEST if you look at comparisons between Connecticut suppliers.

jose August 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm

to freak ..u would have to wait and see the whole year to compare the saving and remeber you are getting 20percent green energy ..only verdian has that,.. which means if everyone would receive get 20 percent green energy u may see a shift towards greener energy . and a reducation in oil prices…remeber in most staes it takes about five barrles of oil to supply a house with energy for a mouth..think about that for a secound ..more u go green less oil we have to import and do u know where we get oil from..our best friend from the middle east..its time we do something because those donkeys and elephants are not looking out for u…

chris August 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I appreciate your thin attempt at appearing to be unbiased. However, your article’s title implies a negative connotation. A better title would be something like, “Network Marketing: Growing fast and often misunderstood.” Scamming requires an attempt to deceive. Viridian is a completely transparent company that educates its customers. Any perceived scamming is simply an assumption made by those that don’t fully understand the topic at hand. Without that knowledge, people make assumptions based on 3rd party gossip. What they might not understand is that their local utility (ComEd in my case) buys energy from a 3rd party at a variable rate. ComEd buys enough to cover a 6 month period (they offer a summer and winter rate) after analyzing the best cost/profit ratio and sets the price high enough to ensure profit, while still low enough to allow the average customer to be able to pay their bill. The customer then gets a flat rate which does offer “security and reliability” but does not necessarily give them the best savings. Com Ed is a business after all and has to be as profitable as possible. Generally flat rate plans are never in the best interests of the consumer. Just like in Vegas, the house always has the advantage!

So like Jose stated in his reply, Viridian offers a higher quality product at a savings over time. Let’s ignore for a moment that Viridian energy vs traditional utility brown energy is like comparing a Lamborghini to a Yugo, and instead focus on the numbers. Looking at the rate history for Connecticut over 1 year, V’s rate went above the local utility by 1 penny per kwh for 1 month, and 1/2 a penny over for 1 other month. However, the rest of the 10 months of the year, V’s rate was under the utility. If one has a fixed rate with another supplier, they are missing out on those savings. And I have seen negative comments from Viridian customers as well. Those are just the people that look at the one month out of the year when the rate happens to be a penny higher than the utility and run around screaming that the sky is falling. If those same customers would wait a few months and then re-access their savings, it would be a completely different story.
So to wrap up this point: ALL suppliers buy energy at variable rates from the generators. Generator examples: solar panels, and clean windmill farms generate green energy from infinite sources (sunlight and wind); or coal, oil, and nuclear plants for traditional brown energy that consumes finite resources, polluting the environment. Just like gas prices change daily, so does the price of generating electricity. In the end, the savings from all 3rd party suppliers will be within 5-10% of each other. So, with the savings being about the same with whom ever you choose, you have to look at the quality of the product you are buying. Viridian offers 26% green energy for less than the utility. V also offers 100% green energy for about the same as the utilities brown energy product (currently at a 19% savings over the utility, though it will/can change). ComEd does offer a green product, but at a 35% premium to its regular rate! I personally signed up for the Viridian Pure green at a combined whopping 49% savings to ComEd’s price for their green “Ecopower” product!

The term “Viridian Pyramid Scheme” is WHOLLY inaccurate. Viridian is a network marketing company, which is not a pyramid scheme. In a pyramid scheme, money is made by recruiting people, “you give me $500 then go and find 3 people to give you $500,” with no real product or service tendered. There are more than a few of these companies that try to pass themselves off as legitimate network marketing companies, or MLM’s (multi level marketing.) A proper MLM company offers products and or services. They are often the highest quality products available anywhere. Also, in a good MLM everyone who joins has the chance to earn as much as anyone else in the company. Its all about how much effort one puts into their business. If one spends minimal effort on their MLM business, most likely they will not do very well, get discouraged, then give up; it then becomes easy to blame their failure on the nature of the industry. Your success really does depend on your level of effort; unlike a typical “job” where one can do as little as possible day after day and get the same exact paycheck as the guy in the next cube who works above and beyond, constantly overachieving. But hey, they both have that security and reliability of knowing how much money they get at the end of the month…
I, and an ever-growing portion of the US population, have chosen a career that is 5 times more likely to pay me over $100,000 a year than a traditional job. And I have no problem earning more and more every month by helping people save some money over time, helping reduce our carbon footprint, and actually feeling good about my purpose in life.

John J Caprice October 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I have recently signed on as an Idependent Associate with Viridian.
There is a great deal of opportunity in the program, but it is not an easy sale.
Older customers are very resistant to change, they are fearful of losing their service.
Approaching a friend immediately changes the tone of the friendly conversation into one of polite doubt, resisitance, then avoidance.
But I am determined. The program makes sense. Renewable energy is only 8% of the total US energy supply. Increasing the demand for solar and wind will provide the profit incentive to buid more green production. Viridian has a minimum of 20% Green Renewable Energy Credits in their portfolio. Most states require approx 8%.
Average annual savings are below our basic utility rates..It just makes sense to switch.
I’ll keep working on the program….
JJC

John B December 6, 2011 at 12:52 am

I agree with all of the comments above in defense of Viridian. I have been involved for over two years (since very early inception) and have seen nothing but great people building a great company that is not only saving people money (ON AVERAGE) but collectively making a huge impact in increasing the use of renewable energy.

For variable rates, there were a few times when they went higher in CT than the utilities. Hey, it’s a business and businesses have to make money. I’m sure they’re not the only supplier who has played the rates in their favor. Bear in mind though, that in 2008 UI and CL&P were OVER $0.14/kwh and this year CL&P is $0.0948. Steep drops like that are hard to deal with in the business plan/forecasting.

The bottom line is that Viridian is still a win-win-win even if a couple months of the year you pay $2 more than you would have because you’re making a difference with green energy.

Thank you.

matthew December 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Where this is available it is to customers that live in states that have been deregulated. In these states the utility is not allowed to profit on the sale of the electricity to their customers they are only allowed to profit off the delivery (the use of there poles lines meters and so forth. So when the utility purchased your electric they dont spend the extra time and $$ to find a cheaper rate because there is no profit.. overall this program is designed to create competition in the market, create jobs and so on . This program has commonly been refered to as the biggest exchange of money in american history. there are alot of downfalls to this program i could go on all day about but generally the people that suffer are people that are not educated about the program that are tricked into sighning up on a higher rate than they are currently on or customers that are on goverment assistance that dont realize that by taking advantage of this program they are opting out of there assistance program. Of course they are not going to tell you this. also these customers are contacted on a daily basis regarding this program and becomes a hassle. Overall it is no the company that is doing shady things it is the reps that they hire that are enrolling these customers based on commission and are lying and bullying people to enroll and are offering saving that are inaccurate.

matthew December 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm

also by law every utility by law has to give a certain % of green energy. no supply company can offer you more green energy when you buy green energy you are paying for the exploration . its not like by using veridian that they can offer you more green energy that your houshold can use. all they electric on the national grid is the same all households recieve the same amount of green energy that they utility provides by law.

Tawana March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Hi, I was reading the comments about Viridian. I think it is a great idea to have green energy. I’m a believer of Going Green. But I’m not a total believer when it comes to MLM. Being that I have been in the field of Multi Level Marketing for years now, I have the experience of how the compensation plan works. Dont get me wrong, there are alot of people who are very successful with MLM, but I wanted to work smarter not harder. In MLM’s, the only way to really make income is if you continue to find people to want to do a business. Everyone is not cut out to do a business, I wanted to find something the average person could do,(mother or grandmother) and earn ongoing True Residual Income. Its called Consumer Direct Marketing, NOT MLM. Its a simpler way to earn True residual income. We are the only company in the world who can offer this type of compensation.I’m very excited that after all these years I was able to find a home with this company…..

jim September 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I switched to Viridian and I never paid such a high bill in my life for 20 years STAY Away big scam!!!

Brian October 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I have been a customer of Viridian’s for over two years now in NJ and it has saved me roughly 20% a year. there is a six month fixed option but I use the variable because it’s more savings. Viridian actually has a sustainability report that you can request which shows the renewable energy and where it comes from. The purchase solar RECs from a hotel in my town and from a school district two towns over. I like that

shirldenise August 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Paying close attention to the detail of the comments that I have read…there are some pro’s and con’s about the provider Viridian and their product go Green Energy Efficiency and saving for home owners as well as businesses. The bottom line is change is good. Solar energy plus signing on with this company saves you the most money over a time span.. that equal..economic savings for all who intend to take advantage of the opportunity..I’m in.

Mike January 16, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I was a little worried about switching to Viridian because I don’t always monitor my rate closely. Sure enough, they got me in with a low rate and now my bill is ridiculous. Stay away.

BF January 17, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I’ve had Viridian for electric for almost three years now and gas for about a year and a half and I pay very close attention to my rates. I have saved a ton of money and I feel the green energy part is a plus but I am much more interested in savings.

Colleen February 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I switched to viridian they advertised low constant rates. Yea right after the 1st month they went up, up, up. It takes 3 to 4 months to switch in early Dec I switched back to NJ PSE&G which is at $0.509 Viridian is now $0.749, not shown on bill, and in Feb still getting charged by them. With viridian now that part of bill $293.20 if had been switched to PSE&G that part would be $199.18. There is no way over the course of multiple years those high costs will balance out. It is a joke, suck you in with low rates & promises they will be low do to past history & then raise them & know they will get at least 3-4 months at the high rates. Really needs to be a faster way to change companies i.e. I put thru a change in Dec the last bill that companies should be after the very next reading not 3 reading down the road. Only thing these law benefit are the utilities.

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