Ombudsman gives 6,000 Queenslanders a fair go

Published 30 September 2022

Complaints about electricity and gas providers are on the rise according to the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland’s 2021-22 Annual Report, which was released today.

Queensland’s Energy and Water Ombudsman Jane Pires said complaints increased by 7% during 2021-22, with her team closing a total of 6,256 cases and negotiating $592,513 worth of outcomes for consumers during the year.

“Complaints about energy and water take all forms, including unexpectedly high bills, problems with estimated bills and payment of solar feed-in tariffs, customers receiving accounts that aren’t theirs, and even a case where a person was charged for power to a vacant block of land,” Ms Pires said.

“Billing was the number one reason customers contacted us in 2021-22, accounting for 64% of the complaints we looked at, followed by problems with new and existing connections, and customer service.”

Ms Pires said electricity, gas and water providers had continued to play their part over the past 12 months in helping consumers weather the long-term economic impact of COVID-19.

“In 2020-21, we saw a significant reduction in the number of credit-related cases brought to us, with a low incidence of complaints related to financial hardship and disconnections,” she said.

“We’ve seen that trend continue, with credit-related issues dropping a further 26% on last year’s already low figures and accounting for just 8% of complaints in 2021-22, and we acknowledge the ongoing efforts of energy and water providers to support vulnerable consumers.

“Despite this, we anticipate payment difficulties and hardship will increase in coming months, particularly for those who have accrued energy debt as we continue to feel the impact of rising prices and the cost-of-living pressures.

“We continue to engage with energy retailers and financial counsellors about this and will support those who are struggling by helping them access hardship support and negotiate payment plans.”

Ms Pires said while the majority of Queenslanders live in the south-east corner – and 85% of complaints in 2021-22 were from this area – EWOQ’s independent dispute resolution service was available to consumers across the state who had unresolved issues with their energy providers.

“If you have an issue with the service you’ve received, or are having trouble paying your bills, the best thing you can do is get in touch with your energy or water provider as soon as you can to ask about payment plans or extensions, and whether there are rebates or concessions you may be entitled.

“If you’re not happy with the outcome or need further support, contact us for free, fair and independent assistance by visiting or calling 1800 662 837 between 8.30am – 5pm weekdays.”