Step 1: Referral to Higher Level or investigation
When you contact us, we will determine if you have given your supplier a reasonable opportunity to resolve your complaint and if we can assist with your complaint. You will then be assigned an investigation and conciliation officer who will offer to refer your complaint to a higher level or begin a complaint investigation.
Referral to Higher Level (RHL)
The RHL process gives you the option to have routine problems escalated to a higher level within the energy or water company before beginning an official investigation with EWOQ.
If you choose this option, EWOQ will contact a higher level contact within the company concerned. The higher-level contact must then contact you by phone within 48 hours or in writing within five business days if phone contact cannot be made.
If the problem remains unresolved, you can contact EWOQ to begin an investigation.
To assist in investigations, we may request information from your energy or water supplier such as:
- account records
- copies of letters or other correspondence
- technical reports
- details of any offers such as compensation
- reasons for any decisions made by your supplier regarding your complaint.
We may also request further action from your supplier such as a meter test.
Step 2: Negotiation
If applicable, we will try to negotiate a suitable outcome to your complaint which may be:
- an agreed payment plan for an overdue account
- reconnecting energy or restore water supply
- an agreed compensation amount for damage to equipment or property.
Step 3: Conciliation
We may hold a conciliation session between you and your supplier to resolve your complaint. During conciliation all parties are given equal opportunity to discuss the issue/s and work through options to reach a mutually acceptable outcome.
Most complaints lodged with us are resolved through negotiation or conciliation.
Step 4: Final order
If a matter cannot be resolved via negotiation or conciliation, the Energy and Water Ombudsman may decide to make a final order against the supplier to resolve your case.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman can order energy or water suppliers to:
- pay compensation
- provide a non-monetary solution to remedy the dispute
- amend a stated charge under the Energy and Water Ombudsman Act 2006
- cancel a negotiated contract
- carry out corrective work.
Your dedicated investigation officer will keep you up to date with the progress of your case, which we will continue to investigate for as long as there are grounds to support further investigation or until the matter is resolved.
See the EWOQ complaint resolution flowchart for more information.