|Traded as||TSX: JE
|Headquarters||Mississauga, Ontario, CA,
Houston, Texas, USA
|Rebecca MacDonald (Executive Chair)
James Lewis (co-CEO)
Deborah Merril (co-CEO)
|Products||Natural Gas, Electricity|
Number of employees
|1,000+ (December 2011)|
Just Energy Group Inc. (formerly Just Energy Income Fund and previously to that Energy Savings Income Fund) is a Canadian-based natural gas and electricity retailer operating in Canadian and American markets across North America and in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Just Energy is a publicly traded company (TSX:JE, NYSE:JE) and serves 4.5 million customers collectively under its affiliate companies Just Energy, Hudson Energy, Commerce Energy, Tara Energy, Amigo Energy, Momentis, Hudson Energy Solar, Green Star Energy, and Terra Grain Fuels. The company was listed and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on January 30, 2012 (NYSE:JE) and entered the European commercial energy market in July 2012 under its Hudson Energy UK brand. In October 2013, the company expanded into the UK residential market under the Green Star Energy brand.
Just Energy's business involves the sale of natural gas and/or electricity supply to residential and commercial customers under long term fixed price, price-protected or variable-priced contracts and green energy products. The company derives its margin or gross profit from the difference between the price at which it is able to sell the commodities to its customers and the related price at which it purchases the associated volumes from its suppliers.
Just Energy supplies natural gas and/or electricity in New York, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio, Michigan, California, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the United States; Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in Canada; and in the United Kingdom.
In 2009, the company undertook a rebranding campaign from Energy Savings Income Fund and U.S Energy Savings, Ontario Energy Savings, Alberta Energy Savings to Just Energy Income Fund across all of its Canadian and U.S. markets. The company incorporated in 2011 and was renamed Just Energy Group.
In April 2010, the company expanded its marketing distribution channel and launched a new network marketing arm under the brand, Momentis. The company completed the acquisition of Toronto-based direct energy marketer Universal Energy Corporation on July 1, 2009. From that acquisition, Just Energy gained National Home Services. In May 2010, Just Energy acquired Hudson Energy Group, an energy marketer in the U.S. commercial sector. In August 2011, Just Energy announced a deal to acquire Fulcrum Retail Holdings LLC, a privately held electricity provider operating in Texas. In July 2012, the company entered the European commercial energy market and began marketing in the UK under its Hudson Energy Supply UK Ltd. brand. In October 2013, the company expanded into the UK residential market under the Green Star Energy brand.
The Better Business Bureau has given Just Energy a "F" rating, and provides the following information:
- BBB files indicate that this business has a large volume and pattern of complaints concerning misleading sales practices. Consumer complaints allege that door to door sales persons are misleading consumers, providing false information and using high pressure sales tactics. This company has been notified of our concerns. They have failed to correct the underlying reason for the complaints.
In June 2003, the Toronto Star reported that both Direct Energy and the Ontario Energy Savings Corp., a subsidiary of the Energy Savings Income Fund, had been charged with fraud as a result of its agents having forged energy contracts and had been fined. In 2010, three former Just Energy salespeople were charged in Alberta, Canada with having forged customer signatures on fraudulent energy contracts. The three defendants pleaded guilty and were fined a total of $6,800.
In July 2008, the Attorney General of New York state brought action against U.S Energy Savings (now Just Energy) for deceptive sales practices. The company was obliged to pay $200,000 in penalties and costs to the state.
"U.S. Energy Savings (now Just Energy) is purposely deceiving consumers", Attorney General Madigan said. "Many of these families signed up for this program based on the false claim that they would save on their monthly utility bills. Instead, U.S. Energy locked them into a contract that actually charged them more for natural gas."
In response to criticism, Just Energy's CEO Ken Hartwick said in an interview with Report on Business magazine in 2013 that Just Energy dropped the savings claim years ago. Hartwick claims the company has taken steps to ensure that consumers know that they are purchasing what equates to an insurance product. He further claims all sales are followed up with a verification phone call by a third party to mitigate against any aggressive sales tactics. However, Just Energy salespeople are still making claims of savings, despite the vast majority of customers paying more. Since Hartwick's claim, Just Energy has been cited by the Ontario Energy Board in November 2013 and November 2014, and by the Attorney General of Massachusetts in January 2015, for continued infractions, including widespread deceptive sales practices.
Rebecca MacDonald, Just Energy's executive chair, has been accused of falsifying her credentials and her biography. Additionally, forensic accounting firms have determined that Just Energy uses questionable accounting practices and has misled investors as to their financial condition.
In September 2014, the police department of Sudbury, Ontario, issued a warning to the city's residents regarding the aggressive and illegal door-to-door sales activities of Just Energy sales representatives, and advised contacting the police if salespeople refuse to leave when requested.
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- John Spears (21 June 2003). "Energy marketers fined over forgeries". Toronto Star.
- Zabiek, Alexandra (July 28, 2010). "Salespeople forged energy contracts". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
- Richard Liebrecht (24 Feb 2010). "Fraud alleged in energy contracts". Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Energy salespeople charged with faking contracts". CBC News. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Liebrecht, Richard (February 24, 2010). "Fraud alleged in energy contracts". Toronto Sun. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
- "Attorney General Cuomo Stops Wny Natural Gas Provider From Deceiving Consumers By Misrepresenting Service Contracts". Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "MADIGAN FILES SUIT AGAINST U.S. ENERGY SAVINGS CORP.".
- Livesey, Bruce (6 November 2014). "Canadian energy company stalked by controversy over its sales methods". Global News. Global News. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
- @JustEnergyGroup (29 July 2015). "Call #JustEnergy toll-free NOW to get the best rates in your area: 1-877-495-4198" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Beware of aggressive door-to-door sales people, police warn". Northern Life. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2015.