The Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) is a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service for unresolved complaints with your electricity, gas or water supplier. Before you contact EWOQ with your complaint, you must first try to resolve the problem with your electricty, gas or water company.
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Complaints process

Timeframes

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.

 

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. If your complaint relates to an amount in dispute, EWOQ may require you to pay the part of the bill which is not in dispute before we will investigate your complaint.

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 make contact with you within five business days, be it by telephone or in writing.

If the problem remains unresolved, you can contact EWOQ to begin an investigation.

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 requiring an energy or water distributor/retailer (scheme participant) to take certain action.

The Energy and Water Ombudsman can order scheme participants to:

  • pay compensation to the customer (if no amount is prescribed, an amount of $20,000, or if all parties agree, and 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.

The customer can choose within 21 days of receiving the final order to notify the Energy and Water Ombudsman in writing if they accept or do not accept the final order. If the customer elects not to accept the final order, the order stops taking effect.

If the customer does not notify the Energy and Water Ombudsman within 21 days, the customer is taken to have accepted the final order and, together with the scheme participant, is bound by it.

A scheme participant can seek a review of the order under the Judicial Review Act 1991.

The Energy and Water Ombudsman must give the scheme participant a written notice about whether or not the final order has been accepted. Where the accepted final order provides that the scheme participant must pay a stated amount, the customer may file the order in a Magistrates Court. The Energy and Water Ombudsman may do the filing for the customer. Once filed, the final order is taken to be a judgment of the court for the stated amount in favour of the customer.

If the scheme participant does not comply with a final order, a maximum penalty of 100 penalty points (one penalty point is $110) may be applied. In addition, non-compliance may be referred to the appropriate regulator.

Schedule of final orders

Date of order

Abstract

Compliance with Order

View full decision

29 January 2015

Complaint: the electricity retailer failed to close the customer’s account as requested and refund outstanding credit.
Decision: the retailer is ordered to pay $582.06 being: the outstanding credit on the account; the Queensland Government Electricity Rebate; and compensation in consideration of the delay in finalising the account, the errors and omissions in the final bill, and the anguish and distress caused to the customer by the retailer’s conduct.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

4 September 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of her electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer, and did not comply with s.55DB (b)(ii) Electricity Act 1994, and must pay the customer $1,478.81.            

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

26 August 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of her electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer, and did not comply with s.55DB (b)(ii) Electricity Act 1994, and must pay the customer $1,694.74.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

25 August 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of his electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer, and did not comply with s.55DB (b)(ii) Electricity Act 1994, and must pay the customer $1,314.97.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

8 August 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of her electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer, and did not comply with s.55DB (b)(ii) Electricity Act 1994, and must pay the customer $912.09.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

7 August 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of her electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer, and did not comply with s.55DB (b)(ii) Electricity Act 1994, and must pay the customer $1,254.43.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

7 August 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of her electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer, and did not comply with s.55DB (b)(ii) Electricity Act 1994, and must pay the customer $1,475.02.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

6 August 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of her electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer, and did not comply with s.55DB (b)(ii) Electricity Act 1994, and must pay the customer $1,341.94.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

6 August 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of his electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer and must pay the customer $728.31.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

4 August 2014

Complaint: the customer’s electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of his electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customer and must pay the customer $1,668.18.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

4 August 2014

Complaint: the customers’ electricity retailer failed to pay solar feed-in credits in excess of their electricity charges upon request.
Decision: the electricity retailer was in breach of its contract with the customers and must pay the customers $573.14.

Yes

PDF
(personal information has been removed)

 

Systemic Issues

A systemic issue is a problem a customer has with an energy or water supplier which affects, or has the potential to affect, more than one customer. The issue may arise for any number of reasons including human error, inadequate planning, the absence of policies or procedures, poor training or failed systems. We identify potential systemic issues in a number of ways:

  • investigation staff monitor complaints and identify potential systemic issues through our case management system
  • the Policy and Research Team reviews the complaints identified as potential systemic issues and takes necessary action. Officers also liaise closely with investigation staff to monitor complaint trends
  • advice from the Advisory Council and collaborative relationships with scheme participants, government agencies, and other ombudsmen colleagues ensure we stay abreast of current and emerging systemic issues
  • on occasions, scheme participants will inform us of a systemic issue
  • a Systemic Issues Monitoring Committee which meets regularly to identify and discuss current and emerging systemic issues.

When a systemic issue is identified, we provide detailed information immediately to the scheme participant about the issue and the customers affected. We also provide advice as to how we would like to see the issue resolved and the steps required to avoid recurrence.

We also advise the appropriate regulatory agency of any systemic issue that could constitute a legislative code or license breach, or violation. EWOQ does not possess any enforcement or prosecution powers.