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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High bills case studies

Further information:

Frustrated by procedure

A customer contacted EWOQ as she had been in dispute with her retailer about the size of her bill. On contacting the retailer the customer was advised the bill was based on an actual meter reading and to monitor her usage. After she transferred to a new retailer her energy consumption was significantly lower than with her previous retailer. The customer then received a phone call from a debt collection agency about her outstanding bill. She contacted EWOQ to determine if the bills received from her previous retailer were accurate and based on actual meter readings. If not the customer requested that her previous retailer issue her with a credit and discontinue the debt collection.

We contacted the retailer and requested a high bill investigation be undertaken together with confirmation that the customer had been billed on actual meter readings and not estimated ones. We also requested information on the customer's usage history. Through our intervention the retailer confirmed that the bills were based on actual meter readings and as a gesture of goodwill, the retailer waived the customer's outstanding debt. In addition, the retailer withdrew the debt from the debt collection agency. 

Attempt to deny right to complain

The customer co-owns a block of four units where there is only one meter to record all water consumption. As the tenants of the units were frequently away, he did not understand why the bills were so high and contacted his supplier to discuss the issue. When the customer discussed the issue with his supplier they offered him a small amount of compensation per unit and told him he would lose the right to challenge any future bills.

The customer brought the issue to the attention of EWOQ to investigate. Through our investigation, the supplier informed us that the accounts were based on actual readings and we provided this information to the customer and explained how the accounts were calculated. The supplier also confirmed that water usage for the block of units was lower than the daily usage target of 200 litres per day per person. The compensation offered by the supplier was an adjustment of the unexplained high water bill and was provided to each of the unit owners. Although the supplier initially stated the customer would lose the right to challenge any future bills, following our investigation, the supplier advised each individual case would be assessed on merit and withdrew the condition that the customer could not challenge any future accounts.