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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Supply case studies

Further information:

Between a rock and a hard place

The customer was building a new house and had contacted her retailer to find out if gas supply was available in her street. The retailer confirmed that there was, and as it would take 20 business days to connect to her house she was advised to call back when the house was nearer to completion and closer to the move-in date. The customer purchased gas appliances and arranged with the builder and plumber/gas fitter to install the necessary fittings. When the customer contacted her retailer again to arrange for the gas supply to be connected, she was advised it would cost $4,000 as there was no gas supply available in her street. As all the appliances had been purchased and work had been undertaken on the building the customer was committed to continuing with the supply.

The customer was left in a difficult position. She could either refuse to connect to gas and be left in possession of appliances she did not need or she could pay the expensive connection fee. The customer acted reasonably in making inquiries of the distributor before purchasing the gas appliances. Had she been correctly advised that gas was not available she may have chosen not to proceed with her purchases. EWOQ considered that it was not fair and reasonable to charge the customer for connection given she had received, and acted on, erroneous advice from the distributor. We took the matter up with the distributor who decided not to charge the customer for her connection.

Extension delays

The customer paid for an extension of the electricity supply to the house he was having built. The energy supplier had provided three different dates for connecting electricity to his house but did not meet any of them. The customer was concerned about the delays and the inconsistent advice being provided by the energy supplier. Because of the delays he had to use a generator and was seeking reimbursement of the fuel costs for the generator and interest on the money he had to borrow from the bank to cover the cost to extend the electricity supply.

EWOQ met with the customer and the energy supplier to discuss the problem and seek reimbursement of costs due to the delays. The customer was connected shortly after the meeting took place and the energy supplier agreed to reimburse the customer as a gesture of goodwill.

Investigation clears the distributor of any fault

The customer, a farmer, claimed that the voltage supplied to his property varied so much that it caused his irrigation pump to stop. Discussions with his distributor had failed to resolve the issue. The customer claimed that the distributor had conducted tests on his power supply but he did know the results. Seeking a timely resolution, the customer contacted EWOQ.

Outcome: As a result of the EWOQ investigation, voltage recorders were installed at the service pole which found that the voltage entering the property was within the required range. However, during the investigation, EWOQ noted that no complaint had been made by the customer until after he had completed some work on the pump. The customer was advised by EWOQ to have an electrical contractor check all of his connections. In addition, the distributor offered to further discuss other options to assist the customer.

Customer disadvantaged by distributor’s inaction

The customer, who had a 5 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system on his property, noticed that the inverter would regularly shut down and not export any surplus power to the grid. This resulted in him not receiving the solar feed-in tariff bonus for the period the inverter was out of action. The customer spoke with the distributor who advised that although his system was functioning correctly, other PV systems in the neighbourhood were exporting too much power into the grid and prevented his system from doing so. The customer was told that it could take up to six months to rectify the issue. The customer sought our assistance.

Outcome: During the EWOQ investigation, the distributor found a number of non-compliant solar PV systems in the vicinity of the customer’s premises. These systems were shut down and the owners told to have them rectified before they could feed power into the grid. Testing was carried out on the customer’s three phase power and the local network was configured to balance the solar load. In addition, a faulty voltage regulator was discovered and replaced. By the end of the distributor’s works, the customer was able to export power to the grid.

Power supply not to blame

The customer, a business owner, claimed that his electrical goods failed due to a surge in power and was seeking compensation from the distributor to cover the electrician’s call out fee. The customer had followed the electricity distributor’s compensation and appeals process and his claim was refused after tests found that there was no fault with the voltage supply. The customer was not satisfied with this decision as he claimed the distributor had informed him that there were problems with the initial tests.

Outcome: As part of the investigation, EWOQ asked the distributor to undertake further power quality supply tests which confirmed that the electricity entering the customer’s property was within the acceptable range. However, the data provided indicated there was a voltage drop when an appliance that drew substantial power was turned on at the property, indicating an issue with the customer’s surge protection switches. The customer was advised to consult with an electrician to ensure the problem did not occur again.