Complaints process

Before you contact us

1. Is it a problem that EWOQ can help with?

You may have a problem that we can’t help with, but someone else can. Before you contact us, read about complaints we can and can’t help you with.

2. Have you contacted your provider?

Before we can get involved, you need to give your provider a chance to fix the problem.

Most customers solve their problem quickly by discussing it with their provider.

When you contact them:

  • read their dispute resolution process—if it’s not on their website, you can ask them a copy
  • write notes about your conversation with them
  • clearly and respectfully explain the problem and how you’d like them to fix it
  • give them time to check the problem and get back to you with a decision.

If you’re unhappy with their decision, they should tell you how to request a review or appeal.

When to contact us

If your provider doesn’t fix the problem and it’s something we can help with, you can send your complaint to us. If you submit your complaint online, we’ll call you to discuss it.

When we call, we ask for your details and confirm you’re the account holder.

If you’re not the account holder, we need to get their permission to speak to you, by either:

If you’re the account holder but you’re paying someone to work on your behalf, we need your verbal or written permission to speak to them about your account.

Our dispute resolution service is free, so you can choose to contact us directly or have your paid representative talk to us.

What happens next

  1. First we make sure we can help with your type of complaint. If we can’t help, we tell you who to contact for assistance.
  2. If it’s a complaint we can help with, we give you the choice of either asking a higher level within your energy or water company to fix the problem or starting an investigation. We explain these options and perhaps recommend one (see below for details).
  3. If your complaint is a disagreement about a dollar amount, we may ask you to pay the part of the bill that you don’t disagree with.
  4. We work with you and your provider though our dispute resolution process to get a fair and reasonable result. If at any stage we can’t continue with our process, we explain why.

Referring your complaint to a higher level

We may ask someone at a higher level in your energy or water company to see if they can fix your problem:

  1. We contact them to explain your complaint and the result you want.
  2. They call or write to you to discuss the problem within 5 business days.
  3. If your problem isn’t fixed through this process, you can contact us again for more help.
  4. If we don’t hear from you, we usually contact you after 3 weeks to see how it’s going.

Investigating your complaint

It may be more appropriate for us to investigate your problem:

  1. We send your energy or water company a ‘notice of investigation’ that explains your problem and how you’d like it fixed. We ask them to tell us what they can do to fix it.
  2. We read their response and ask them for more information if we need it. If the investigation is complex, this could take some time.
  3. When we’re happy with their response, we contact you to discuss the result.

We update you about our progress regularly, and keep investigating until either we get a fair and reasonable result or there’s no reason to keep investigating.

An investigation usually takes about 20 business days, depending how complex the problem is.

At the end of the investigation, we send you a notice that the case is closed, which contains the investigation findings and any agreed solution.

If your provider breaks this agreement, you should contact us.

Final order

In rare situations where we can’t get a fair and reasonable result that you and your provider can agree on, the Ombudsman may make a final order.

Read our final orders.