Our performance

This year there has been a noticeable change in the type of complaints we received, with an increase in the number of investigations, while refer backs and general enquiries have fallen.

This shift in the complaint mix indicates a trend towards more complex complaints, which has affected the overall time taken to resolve complaints.

While there was an 11 per cent decrease in the total number of cases closed from the previous year, level 1 investigations increased by 16 per cent, Level 2 by 12 per cent and Level 3 by 25 per cent. Refer backs and general enquiries experienced the greatest reduction from 2018-2019, with general enquiries decreasing by 26 per cent and refer backs dropping by 25 per cent.

During 2019-2020, we continued to keep our Referral to Higher Level (RHL) cases open longer to ensure actions were completed by the energy or water provider to the satisfaction of the customer.

Performance against service standards

Performance targets – time taken to close cases

Performance against targets for time taken to close cases.
Time takenTarget2015-162016-172017-182018-192019-20
Less than 28 days 80% 8,201 (92%) 7,209 (92%) 8,469 (83%) 7,340 (86%) 6,020 (79%)
Less than 60 days 90% 8,681 (98%) 7,722 (98%) 9,897 (97%) 8,350 (98%) 7,342 (96%)
Less than 90 days 95% 8,808 (99%) 7,811 (99%) 10,117 (99%) 8,514 (99%) 7,553 (99%)
More than 90 days <5% 87 (1%) 50 (1%) 94 (1%) 45 (1%) 68  (1%)

During 2019-2020, 12 per cent of the total cases we closed fell within the jurisdiction of other government authorities. We have Memoranda of Understanding with seven organisations to facilitate the timely exchange of information and referral of such cases, including:

  • the fixing of prices or tariffs
  • a customer contribution to the cost of capital works
  • products such as air conditioners, hot water systems, solar panels and home electrician services offered by electricity retailers
  • on-selling of energy or water to tenants in caravan parks, retirement villages and other multi-tenanted dwellings (embedded networks)
  • bottled LPG (liquefied petroleum gas)
  • electricity consumption of more than 160 megawatt hours a year
  • gas consumption of more than one terajoule a year
  • water consumption of more than 100 kilolitres a year for small business
  • metered standpipes, raw water supplies, tradewaste, stormwater harvesting or stand-alone recycled water.

More than half (60 per cent) of the cases we referred to other government authorities in 2019-2020 were to the Office of Fair Trading, including complaints about bulk hot water, bottled gas and solar installation.

Referrals to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) remained steady while referrals to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy continued to decline. There was a small increase in the number of cases we referred to the Queensland Ombudsman.

Cases referred to other organisations

Number of cases referred to other organisations.
Office of Fair Trading 594 606 757 617 540
Australian Energy Regulator* 188 54 181 241 217
Queensland Ombudsman 60 67 78 65 70
Department of Natural
Resources, Mines and Energy*
603 235 203 115 66
Australian Competition
and Consumer Commission
6 13 4 15 6
Queensland Competition
17 9 5 4 3

* From 1 July 2015, regulation for energy retailers moved from the Queensland Energy and Water Regulator to the Australian Energy Regulator.

When a customer contacts us, we listen to their issue and classify it as a general enquiry, refer them to another organisation or back to their energy or water provider, refer the case to a higher level with their provider, or investigate the matter.

In 2019-2020, 28 per cent of the cases we closed were referred back to the energy or water provider (because the customer had not contacted them about the issue before contacting us). This is down from 33 per cent last year.

EWOQ annual report 2019-2020 case types

We conducted a customer research survey between December 2019 and January 2020. The survey was based on the Australian Government’s Benchmarks for industry-based customer dispute resolution.

These benchmarks focus on the six key attributes of effective dispute resolution services: accessibility, independence, fairness, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.

Key findings

  • 87% of surveyed customers indicated they would recommend EWOQ to others
  • 86.4% of customers reported being very satisfied with how courteous, friendly and helpful EWOQ team members were
  • 79.1% of customers reported being very satisfied with the ease of finding an ombudsman to complain about an electricity, gas or water retailer
  • 72.5% of customers were very satisfied with the time we took to investigate and resolve their complaint.

Read the full report on our customer satisfaction research page.

Since January 2020, we have undertaken Voice of the Customer surveying each month with customers who have had a complaint either:

  • referred to a higher level within their electricity, gas or water supplier
  • independently reviewed by EWOQ.

These surveys provide regular feedback to help us improve our services to customers, including how we handle complaints, the information we give our customers about our complaints process and our skills in talking with customers about their complaints.

How customers contacted EWOQ in 2019-2020


5,013 – 66%


1,981 – 26%


544 – 7%


83 – 1% (Includes letter, in-person, Facebook and Twitter)

See appendix 1 for figures.

Our performance against the strategic plan

A four-year strategic plan is prepared annually and describes our vision, objectives, strategies and performance indicators. The strategic plan informs our business plan, which details the activities we need to undertake to achieve our strategic objectives. Our 2019-2023 strategic plan focused on our service, our customers, our connections and our people.

Our service

Our service achievements for 2019-2020.

Our customers

Our achievements for our customers in 2019-2020.

Our connections

How we've grown our connections in 2019-2020.

Our people

Our achievements for our people during 2019-2020.

View this section as a PDF

See the official copy of the 2019-20 annual report, as tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, on the Queensland Parliament's tabled papers website.