EWOV reports another fall in complaints

Victoria’s Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWOV) has reported a 28 per cent fall in the number of complaints made about energy and water distributors and retailers.

In it’s 2015-16 annual report, the ombudsman recorded 36,152 cases showing there are fewer problems with billing systems and better internal dispute resolutions.

This is in stark comparison to 2013-14 when almost 85,000 cases were reported to the ombudsman.

Energy and Water Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert said the fall for a second year running was welcome.

“To have case numbers fall significantly for the second year running is a welcome development,” Ms Gebert said.

“With billing cases down 36 per cent, it seems that the problems some companies have had with their billing systems have now mostly been resolved.

“There’s also evidence that energy and water companies are managing their internal dispute resolution processes better.

“We’ve often said that many of the complaints EWOV receives wouldn’t come to us if companies paid more attention to addressing problems when their customers first raise them.”

Electricity retailers received the bulk of the complaints at 22,629, gas retailers received 10,715 complaints and water received 2398.

The breakdown of complaints was 41 per cent for billing (14,643), 30 per cent for credit (10,995), 11 per cent for transfer (3883) 8 per cent for provision (3009) and the remaining 8 per cent were for land, marketing, supply and general enquiries (3216).

EWOV’s 2016 Annual Report also shows a 19% fall in credit cases, but the Ombudsman remains concerned about energy and water affordability.

“It’s very pleasing that credit cases are down. We believe this is largely due to more attention by energy retailers to preventing the escalation of fewer complex hardship complaints,” Ms Gebert said.

“But, for the second year running, EWOV received more cases about energy disconnection/water restriction and debt collection/credit default listing than it did about high bills.”