Consumer rights strengthened for Qld embedded networks
An estimated 187,000 Queenslanders living in apartment buildings, retirement villages and caravan parks now have access to a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service to help them resolve complaints they may have with their electricity.
Queensland’s Energy and Water Ombudsman Jane Pires said her team were now able to help residential embedded network customers across the state resolve issues with their electricity bills and power supply following a change of jurisdiction.
“While most people in Queensland get a power bill from a licensed energy retailer, consumers whose power is supplied through a privately owned energy network – known as an embedded network – may get a power bill from their landlord, body corporate or a billing agent,” Ms Pires said.
“Given the personal nature of some of these arrangements, it may be difficult to complain about a high power bill, missing rebates or concessions, connection issues or poor customer service, or to negotiate an affordable payment plan, meaning these Queenslanders are some of our most vulnerable consumers.
“Until recently, embedded network customers in Queensland have not had the same consumer protections available to other electricity customers. Now they can access a free, fair and independent ombudsman service to help them work through problems with their electricity.”
Ms Pires said her team were enjoying working with embedded network providers and their customers, the largest expansion in the services provided by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland (EWOQ) in more than 10 years.
“There are an estimated 1,800 embedded network owners and operators in Queensland running businesses where they buy electricity from the grid and then bill the residents who use it, which is a service they provide in addition to their core business,” says Ms Pires.
“These businesses have a legal responsibility to provide their customers a fair and reasonable dispute resolution service.
“Residential embedded network owners and operators are now eligible to become a member of EWOQ, and their customers can contact us for advice and extra support if they aren’t happy with the response from their provider or a problem with their electricity isn’t fixed.”