About scheme participants
What are scheme participants?
Under the Energy and Water Ombudsman Act 2006,all authorised energy suppliers in Queensland, and water distributor-retailers in South East Queensland, must become members of the EWOQ scheme if they supply electricity, gas or water to small customers.
Small customers are:
- all residential customers
- small businesses who use less than:
- 160 megawatt hours of electricity per year
- 1 terajoule of gas per year
- 100 kilolitres of water per year (South East Queensland only).
Local councils supply water to customers outside South East Queensland and are not currently within EWOQ’s jurisdiction.
Read the scheme participant manual (PDF, 357.04 KB) for details on how scheme participation works.
Requirements of scheme participants
Applying to become scheme participants
Energy and water distributors and retailers must apply to become a scheme participant once they’re eligible:
- energy distributors—as soon as they receive a distribution licence in Queensland
- energy retailers—within 10 business days of entering into a contract with a Queensland residential or small business customer.
See section 64 of the Act for details on when various energy and water entities become scheme participants.
Scheme participation starts on the day they start selling energy to a small customer. Penalties apply for not applying for membership in the required time frame.
Read more about applying for scheme participation.
Promoting the scheme
Scheme participants must include EWOQ’s contact details on final disconnection notices or restriction notices and publish contact details on their website.
EWOQ is fully funded by scheme participants through participation fees and user-pays fees.
Scheme participants pay an annual participation fee in July (or part-fee if they become a scheme participant during the financial year).
They also pay user-pays fees to cover the costs of resolving complaints we receive about them. These are calculated according to section 69 of the Act.
We publish these fees in our annual budget guidelines (PDF, 355.03 KB).
Under the Act, the Ombudsman may impose a supplementary fee if, due to unforeseen expenditure or a revised budget, the total fees won’t cover all the Ombudsman’s functions.