Privacy

The Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) handles personal information according to the 11 information privacy principles (IPPs) in the Information Privacy Act 2009.

These principles tell us how to collect, use, store and disclose personal information in the public sector.

What is personal information?

Personal information is facts or opinions about a person that identifies or could identify them.

This could include:

  • names
  • contact details
  • number of people who live at a residence
  • current and past energy or water account information
  • information from an energy or water provider
  • photos (e.g. energy or water meters, residence)
  • information from debt collection agencies
  • special needs (e.g. interpreter).

Collecting and using personal information

Our Information privacy plan (PDF, 3359.91 KB) outlines the types of personal information we hold and how we handle this information.

Only with your permission we collect personal information to help you with your enquiry.

To help resolve your dispute, we may need to give your personal information to your energy or water provider and collect information about you from your provider.

If we can’t help you, we may refer your enquiry or dispute to another organisation with your permission such as:

  • Australian Energy Regulator and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
  • Office of Fair Trading
  • Queensland Competition Authority
  • Queensland Ombudsman
  • Australian Energy Market Commission.

We may ask for personal information on the phone, in person, in letters or in emails. We need this information to provide services to you.

We may monitor or record calls for case management, training and coaching purposes. You can tell the operator if you don’t want us to do this.

We may use the personal information you choose to provide to us to:

  • manage cases
  • investigate systemic issues
  • train team members
  • assess service quality or conduct market research (through an external company)
  • conduct research
  • maintain and develop services, systems and infrastructure, including testing and upgrade of systems.

We may de-identify your personal information and use it to:

  • create statistics for internal use and publication
  • create customer stories
  • create presentations.

Tell us if you don’t want us to do this or want more information on how we manage your personal information.

Authorised representatives

You may want someone to contact us on your behalf or have us talk to them about your dispute, e.g. a paid representative, a financial counsellor, or a relative or friend.

To give permission for someone to speak to us on your behalf, submit an Authority to act form.

If you give someone this authority, we may then:

  • ask the person for information
  • give information to that person
  • speak to that person as if we were speaking to you.

This authority remains valid until you or the person you’ve authorised to act on your behalf cancels it. Contact us to change or cancel this authority.

If you’re paying someone to act on your behalf, you can’t recover any agent fees from EWOQ or the company you’re making a complaint about.

We provide a free service; you can avoid agent fees by contacting us directly.

Cookies

You can use the EWOQ website without revealing any personal information. In general, we don’t collect information that can identify you or your browsing activities.

However, we do use cookies on the EWOQ website. Cookies are small files that are stored on your computer when you go to a website. They can be helpful in offering you a personalised experience and telling us how people use our website.

We use Google Analytics to collect statistics about how people access the site. Google Analytics uses cookies to collect this information, including:

  • the number of visitors to the website
  • how visitors arrive at the website (e.g. by typing the address, by clicking a link on a website or via a search engine)
  • the number of times visitors view each page and for how long
  • the times and dates of visits
  • geographical location of visitors
  • the browsers and operating systems that visitors use to view the website
  • whether visitors’ browsers support Java and Flash
  • the speed of visitors’ internet connections.

The information about how people use our website is sent to, and stored by, Google on servers outside Australia.

None of the information we record or send Google can personally identify you.

Emails and forms

If you provide personal information in emails and online forms, we may use it for the purposes stated in this privacy statement.

Any emails you send us may be sent to other EWOQ team members for their response.

Our information technology and website support team members may monitor emails for system troubleshooting and maintenance.

We treat all emails as public records and keep them as required by the Public Records Act 2002 and other relevant legislation.

We won’t add your details to a mailing list or reveal them to a third party without your permission unless:

  • you’d expect us to or we’ve told you we will
  • the law requires or authorises it
  • it will prevent or lessen a threat to someone’s life or health
  • it will help enforce the law or protect public revenue.

While we work hard to protect your information, we can’t guarantee the security of any information you send us online. You do this at your own risk.

Security measures

We take strong precautions to protect your data from loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure, and other misuse.

However, this website doesn’t allow you to securely send information across the internet.

Read more about using our website.

Accessing and amending personal information

The Right to Information Act 2009 and Information Privacy Act 2009 allows you to access information we hold unless, overall, it’s not in the public interest to release it.

Find out how to access the personal information we hold.

The Information Privacy Act also allows you to apply to amend your personal information if you believe it’s inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading.

Find out how to amend the information we have about you.

Privacy breaches

If you believe we haven’t protected your personal information or have breached your privacy in some way, as outlined on this page and under the Information Privacy Act 2009, you can make a complaint to us.

Submit a complaint about our service.

Contact

If you have questions about how we collect or use personal information, contact the Right to Information & Information Privacy Coordinator, Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland by:

  • post: PO Box 3640, South Brisbane BC Qld 4101
  • phone: 1800 662 837
  • fax: (07) 3087 9477
  • email: rti@ewoq.com.au.