If a matter cannot be resolved via negotiation or conciliation, the Energy and Water Ombudsman may decide to make a final order against an energy or water supplier to resolve the matter.
Prior to the Energy and Water Ombudsman making a final order, a decision will be circulated to all affected parties for consideration and comment. The customer can choose within 21 days of receiving the decision to notify the Energy and Water Ombudsman in writing if they accept or do not accept the final order.
If the customer does not notify the Energy and Water Ombudsman within 21 days, the decision becomes final and the customer and supplier are bound by it. If the final order is accepted, the supplier can seek a review under the Judicial Review Act 1991. If the customer elects not to accept the final order, the order will not take effect.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman must give the supplier a written notice about whether or not the final order has been accepted. The customer may file the accepted final order in a Magistrates Court. Alternatively, the Energy and Water Ombudsman may file the final order on behalf of the customer. Once filed, the final order is taken to be a judgment of that court for the stated amount in favour of the customer.
If the supplier does not comply with a final order, a maximum penalty of 100 penalty points (one penalty point is $100) may be applied. In addition, non-compliance may be referred to the appropriate regulator.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman can order suppliers to:
- pay compensation to the customer (if no amount is prescribed, an amount of $20,000, or if all parties agree, an amount of no more than $50,000)
- provide a non-monetary solution to remedy the dispute
- end a negotiated contract with a customer
- amend a stated charge under the Energy and Water Ombudsman Act 2006
- carry out corrective work.
Final orders made by the Ombudsman
||No final orders have been made by the Energy and Water Ombudsman to date