The Energy Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV)
If you’re having a problem with your energy provider, you can turn to the energy ombudsman for free and fair dispute resolution. The energy ombudsman Victoria (EWOV) are the energy and water ombudsman that service Victoria, a not-for-profit, independent and impartial dispute resolution service that handles complaints about energy and water problems. If you are having an issue with your energy provider in Victoria, and feel you need an outside service to address the issue, keep reading below to learn how EWOV can help you, and ways to file a complaint with them.
What is an Energy Ombudsman?
Ombudsman are independent agencies offering free and fair dispute resolution services for a variety of government services, private industries, and other sectors. In Australia, each state or territory has their own Ombudsman tasked with dealing with problems relating to energy retail and supply.
The energy ombudsman in Victoria (known as EWOV) deal not only with energy disputes, but also water service disputes, as well as offering general advice and information to customers with general enquiries. EWOV helps Victorian residents by:
Using alternative dispute resolution, while taking into account the law and good industry practices, to quickly resolve disputes relating to energy and water impartially, informally, and quickly.
Providing advice, information, and referrals to customers with general enquiries.
Identifying systemic issues and reporting them to the energy and water companies or regulators so they can be resolved
Working with actors in the energy and water industries such as providers, supplies, companies, and regulators, to help prevent complaints
How can the energy ombudsman in Victoria help me?
The energy ombudsman in Victoria offers dispute help between energy or water customers, and the utility companies in Victoria. In addition, EWOV also takes complaints and disputes from people who aren’t customers, but are still directly affected by the actions of the energy or water company. EWOV handles most complaints about energy and water companies, including those listed below.
|Type of Issue||What EWOV helps with|
|Billing and payments||
|Marketing or transfers of account||
|Land and infrastructure||
However, there are some issues EWOV can’t take. These might be outside of their jurisdiction, or else are issues that have previously been resolved. These include:
- Energy and water prices or tariffs, and how they are set
- Government policies, legislation, or anything specifically required by law
- Complaints that have been, or are current being, decided in court
- A company’s external activities outside of energy or water
- Events beyond reasonable control
- Actions a company is directed to take to maintain security or reliability.
What’s the process for filing a complaint with EWOV?
If you’re experiencing an issue with your energy provider and need a dispute resolved, the first step is to contact your energy provider and give them a chance to resolve the dispute before contacting the ombudsman. Once you’ve given your energy provider a reasonable chance to resolve the dispute, and you’re still not satisfied, you can then contact the energy ombudsman in Victoria to file your complaint with them.
When making a complaint with the energy ombudsman, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your contact details
- Name of energy provider you’re having an issue with
- Supply address
- The outcome you hope for
- Details of the complaint
- Anything the energy company said when you contacted them about the issue
After you’ve first contacted your energy provider, and then filed a complaint with the energy ombudsman, they will begin what is called an Assisted Referral. An assisted referral is when the energy ombudsman contacts your provider again, giving them three days to contact you and 15 business days to resolve your complaint.
If your energy company doesn’t respond within 15 business days, or you’re unhappy with the response they give you, you can contact the energy ombudsman again. EWOV will open an investigation by first gathering all relevant information to help you and the energy company find a fair and reasonable resolution. If you, the customer, accepts the Ombudsman’s decision, your energy company must comply. If you don’t agree with the resolution you can then take further action such as through the courts.
How do I contact the energy ombudsman Victoria to file a complaint?
If you’ve already spoken to your energy provider and you’re dissatisfied with their resolution, you can then begin the process of filing a complaint with the energy and water ombudsman Victoria. Complaints to EWOV can be filed by phone, email, fax, written and sent by post, or live chat online. If you want to call the energy ombudsman, their hours are 8:30am to 5pm, while EWOV live chat hours are 8:30am to 4pm.
|Contact method||How to contact EWOV|
|Phone||1800 500 509 (freecall)|
|Restricted phone||Call 12550 and quote (03) 8672 4450|
|Live chat||Available online|
|Fax||1800 500 549|
|Written complaint (also available in Braille)||Reply Paid
469 Melbourne VIC 8060
Other services does EWOV provide?
In addition to free and fair conflict resolution, the energy ombudsman in Victoria offer general help and advice, as well as additional resources so you can always find the best information to help you with any enquiry you might have.
If you have a general enquiry, you can contact EWOV for advice or additional resources. In addition, the energy ombudsman Victoria website offers general guides and information about a variety of topics.
Energy disconnections: The rules for disconnections and what to do if you’re disconnected from your energy supply
Financial hardship and trouble paying your bills: What to do if you’re having trouble paying your bills and how EWOV can help with payment plans or concessions and rebates, such as the Victoria solar rebate.
Power outages and surges: Planned and unplanned power outage information, and possible compensation for damages associated with a power surge or brownout
Debt collection and credit default listings: Rules that debt collectors must follow, and what to do about a default listing or debt collection activity
High bills: Reasons you might have a high bill, possible billing mistakes, and what to do if you think there’s been a mistake on your bill
Delayed bills: Reasons for a catch-up bill and rules for catch-up bills
Meters and problems with infrastructure: Smart meter information, as well as information about energy distributor infrastructure
Embedded network information
Solar energy: How to apply for solar panels in Victoria, approved solar PV system information, and problems you might have with your solar panels or generating solar energy