Energy Ombudsman WA (EWOWA)
Every state and territory in Australia has an independent agency tasked with resolving disputes between customers and energy companies. These agencies, known as energy ombudsmen, offer free and fair dispute resolution for a broad range of complaints you might have. In Western Australia the energy and water ombudsman (EWOWA) handles the complaints you might have about energy retailers, distributors, or water utility companies. If you need to find out how to file a complaint with the ombudsman, and what is involved during an investigation, continue to read more below.
What is the energy and water ombudsman?
Ombudsman are free and independent agencies which resolve disputes and complaints about a number of private and public agencies. In Western Australia, the state Ombudsman is also the Energy and Water Ombudsman.
Energy and water ombudsmen are tasked with resolving disputes between energy and water customers and the corresponding utility companies in a free and fair way. The energy and water ombudsman in Western Australia has many roles, these include:
- Investigating complaints concerning electricity, gas, and water service providers
- Identifying serious and emerging issues, and reporting them to the Economic Regulation Authority or other relevant agencies
- Educating through outreach and liaison, to increase and ensure awareness and accessibility to EWOWA
As an energy customer in Western Australia, if you have a complaint or dispute with your energy company, you are free to use the energy ombudsman in Western Australia.
How can the energy ombudsman in Western Australia help me?
You can submit a complaint against any current member of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia which includes most major electricity and gas industry companies including distributors, retailers, and other services. There are a number of matters EWOWA can investigate with regards to gas and electricity, but also some things outside of their jurisdiction.
|Matters EWOWA can investigate||Matters EWOWA cannot investigate|
What is the process for filing a complaint with EWOWA?
The first step for filing a complaint with the energy ombudsman in Western Australia is to contact your energy provider or distributor directly to give them a chance to resolve the dispute. Once you’ve done that, and you do not feel satisfied with their response, you can contact EWOWA. Following your initial contact with EWOWA, they may refer you back to your energy company to give them another chance to address your complaint.
If the issue remains unresolved, following the second referral to your energy company, the energy and water ombudsman might either decide that your utility provider acted fairly and reasonably and take no further action, or EWOWA might decide to further investigate your complaint.
If the energy ombudsman decide to take further action they will contact both your energy provider and yourself for more information, as well as possibly consider outside independent technical advice. During the investigation you will be contacted for any developments, and opportunities to resolve the complaint through an agreement.
Following the investigation, without any agreement or resolution, the ombudsman will either determine your complaint is not substantiated and take no further action or come to a binding decision in order to resolve the issue. As the customer, you can either accept or reject the EWOWA’s decision but it will be binding on the utility company if you accept.
What if I’m unhappy with EWOWA’s resolution?
If, after the investigation is completed, you have concerns related to how the investigation itself was handled you can submit a request for a review with a senior officer who was not initially part of your case.
Requests for a review must be made in writing (either by email or through the post) and addressed to Senior Assistant Ombudsman Complaint Resolution with the reasons why you think your complaint was not handled fairly. If the senior officer determines your case was not handled in an appropriate way, your case may be re-opened and reconsidered.
Contact the energy ombudsman WA to file a complaint
There are a number of ways to contact the energy ombudsman Western Australia, these include phone, email, online, and by mail. It is important to remember that your first step is to contact your energy provider or distributor and attempt to resolve the problem directly. Only after you’ve contacted your energy company, and have not been able to resolve your complaint, should you then contact the energy and water ombudsman in Western Australia.
|Contact method||How to contact EWOWA|
|Phone||1800 754 004|
|Online||EWOWA Online Complaint Form|
|Written letter||Energy & Water Ombudsman
PO Box Z5386
Perth WA 6831
In addition, you can print and complete the EWOWA complaint form and send it to the energy ombudsman by email or posted in the mail.
When contacting the energy ombudsman Western Australia, make sure to include as many details about your complaint as possible. Include information such as:
- Your exact concerns
- Dates and times
- Details of previous conversations you’ve had with your energy company including names of those you spoke with
- Copies of relevant documents
- What you consider to be an acceptable outcome or resolution
In addition to information about your energy account, contact details, property address, and National Metering Identifier (NMI) if applicable and known.
Energy and water ombudsman Western Australia FAQ
Who can make a complaint to EWOWA?
Gas or electricity complaints can be made by residential and small use consumers, persons directly affected by the provision of (or failure to provide) electricity or gas services, or owners or occupiers of a property directly affected by how an electricity or gas provider has exercised its powers.
Can someone complain to the energy and water ombudsman on my behalf?
If you would like someone to submit a complaint on your behalf to the energy and water ombudsman, you will first need to submit a completed Authority to Act as Representative Form and submit it by fax or mail.
How long will EWOWA take to resolve my complaint?
The length of investigation varies depending on the complexity of the issue. However, the energy ombudsman aims to resolve all complaints within 90 days.
What can the Energy and Water Ombudsman do to resolve my complaint?
If your complaint or dispute cannot be resolved with the agreement of both you and the utility company, the energy ombudsman in Western Australia has the power to make a binding decision of up to a value of $20,000 or up to $50,000 with the utility company’s agreement.