Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) was established in 2007 under the Energy and Water Ombudsman Act 2006 to provide free and independent dispute resolution service for Queensland’s energy consumers and water customers in South East Queensland. Since then, it has provided dispute resolution services to more than 73,000 Queenslanders.
It delivers services for complaint investigation and dispute resolution for electricity, natural gas and water customers. The consumers are encouraged to handle their disputes with their retailer before contacting EWOQ. The company is completely funded by participation and user-pays fees.
EWOQ works on issues like:
• Problems with payment
• energy marketing and contract related issues
• disconnections, damages & loss
• account errors/disputes
• supply quality and reliability
• Deals with extensions to supply and connection of supply
• Guaranteed service level rebates
• General customer service issues and any equipment issues
Main functions of EWOQ:
The organisation works within the legal framework of Energy and Water Ombudsman Act 2006 and its main functions are:
• To entertain and investigate energy issue in Queensland
• Take care of water issues in South-east Queensland
• Manage dispute resolution between customers and energy and water entities
• Identify systemic energy and water issues.
• Promote the services of EWOQ
The vision of EWOQ is to develop into an independent organisation that is high performing, and offers a valued contribution to energy and water sectors. The people of Queensland can look forward to effective and timely resolution of disputes with their energy and water supplier. The company aims at offering an improved service delivery in the energy and water sector.
EWOQ fosters a culture of continually striving for success, while adhering to the principles of independence and accountability. All Queenslanders enjoy an equal access to the services of EWOQ, where an independent official represents their interests and all their complaints are investigated and addressed upon.
EWOQ believes that if it works with its legal framework and to the highest of integrity standards then it can resolve the disputes between the utility service providers and customers to the satisfaction of both the parties and ensure better service standards.
It can go to any length to help customers, especially on lower incomes, understand their rights and obligations regarding management of their electricity bills. At the same time it ensures that scheme participants operating in Queensland abide by relevant legislation, regulations and codes, and act in a manner which recognises the rights of all customers.
EWOQ acts in a manner that recognises the rights of all consumers as well as all licensed energy suppliers and water distributor-retailers in Queensland. Care is taken to ensure that energy and water suppliers abide by relevant legislation, regulation and codes, and the organisation assists with any unresolved customer complaints relating to these companies. It follows the performance benchmarks set by Australian Government for industry based customer dispute resolution schemes viz. accessibility, accountability, independence, efficiency, fairness and effectiveness. EWOQ has been exceeding these service standards in the past and plans to continue so in the future.
The Company has a strong Corporate Governance framework which is supported by various committees viz. Senior Management Group, Audit and Risk Management Committee and Information Steering Committee.
EWOQ is working hard to increase awareness and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in 2014. The aim is to make the indigenous people feel confident and stay well informed about their rights when it comes to their energy requirements.