The Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) Limited (EWOV) is a non-profit Company that investigates the customer complaints relating to electricity, gas and water companies operating in Victoria (referred to as its 'scheme participants') and facilitates the resolution for the same.
- It is a member of Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA). ANZOA is a professional association and the peak body for Ombudsmen in Australia and New Zealand.
- EWOV is Australia's oldest and largest energy ombudsman scheme. The scheme is part of the Australia & New Zealand Energy and Water Ombudsman Network (ANZEWON). The work done within this network benefits companies, government, regulators and customers.
- It functions on an independent industry-based Ombudsman model. Its processes are informal, rather than legalistic, and are based on the process of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
- Its work is often described as external dispute resolution (EDR), because it is independent, impartial and external to the scheme participants or government.
- Its foundation documents are EWOV Limited Constitution and EWOV Charter. The EWOV Limited Constitution governs the operations of the company, while the EWOV Charter explains the foundations of the company's dispute resolution scheme and the obligations of its scheme participants to comply with the Charter's terms.
- Its policies and processes comply with the Benchmarks for Industry-Based Customer Dispute Resolution Schemes (National Benchmarks). These National Benchmarks focus on the principles of accessibility, independence, fairness, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.
- Community outreach is an important aspect governing the company's work. Its quarterly newsletter 'Connect' links the company with community agencies and ensures that important information about customer complaints and systemic issues is readily available to customers, industry, government, regulators, and consumer advocacy groups.
- The provision & supply of a service
- Failure to provide or supply a service
- Billing & Communications
- Credit & payment services
- Disconnections & restrictions
- Refundable advances
- Land & property issues
To be an employer of choice and provide a wholly impartial and highly esteemed dispute resolution service for Victorian energy and water consumers and Scheme Participants.
The Company aims to achieve this by:
- vigorously maintaining independence and high professional standards
- implementing effective and efficient processes
- continuously benchmarking its performance against world's best practice and introducing improvement
- maintaining consumer awareness
- building customer capability
- working with energy and water providers to encourage the ownership and sustainable resolution of complaints
- training, and professional and personal mentoring of staff
- valuing and acknowledging the contribution of staff
- providing a safe, healthy and flexible working environment
- evaluating and applying new technologies
- looking ahead for social, economic and legislative issues likely to impact on EWOV's policies or processes
- living cultural values
- To provide independent advice, information and referral regarding energy and water services.
- To receive, investigate and facilitate the resolution of complaints involving consumers and energy and water service companies in Victoria.
- To identify, and where appropriate redress, systemic issues and refer these to energy and water companies and regulators.
- To work with customer groups, industry and regulators to drive ongoing customer service improvement and to prevent complaints.
EWOV strongly recommends the inclusion of energy efficiency advice as the mandatory element of a hardship programme. The advice made available on retailer's website or over the phone can benefit hardship customers to look out for ways to curtail the usage where they are using more energy than can afford thereby making a long term positive step towards affordability. For retailers, it has the advantage of possibly limiting their exposure to debt.
EWOV is legally separate from, and independent of, the energy and water companies and government. The company's Board comprises of four industry directors (two electricity, one gas and one water) elected by scheme participants, four consumer directors nominated by Essential Services Commission and an independent chairperson, which reflects its independence. This independence helps Company to assist and resolve issues between customers and energy and water services companies in an efficient and effective manner.
Electricity, Gas & Water