Our service

2021-22 at a glance

Total cases closed 6,256 3% increase from last year. Total complaints 5,025, 7% increase from last year. 84% electricity, 7% water, 6% gas

Top 5 issues - 64% billing, 10% provision, 8% customer service, 8% credit, 4% supply

Monetary outcomes

We negotiated a total of 1,379 outcomes worth $592,513 for customers.

Top 5 monetary outcomes

Top 5 monetary outcomes achieved for customers.
Monetary outcome



1. Goodwill gesture



2. Billing adjustment



3. Refund processed



4. Debt waiver



5. Payment plan offered



Dispute resolution

At a glance

At EWOQ, we help Queenslanders work out problems with their electricity, gas and water providers.

When a customer contacts us, we listen to their issue and classify it as an enquiry, refer them to another organisation or back to their energy or water provider, refer the case to a higher level with their provider, or investigate the matter.

Of the 6,256 cases we closed in 2021-22:

  • 34% were referred to a higher level (RHL) within the energy or water provider
  • 32% were referred back to an energy or water provider
  • 14% were investigated
  • 10% were referred to another organisation
  • 9% were enquires that were general in nature.

Please note, figures do not add up to 100% due to rounding

In detail

As a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service, our approach is based on the principles of alternative dispute resolution.

We seek to establish the facts and issues to help our customers and their provider better understand the problem at hand, and each other’s point of view.

The outcome of a complaint may be achieved by agreement between the customer and the provider, or through conciliation based on what we deem as a fair and reasonable outcome.

What we do

Our service was established to assist residential and small business customers who use less than 160 megawatt hours of electricity per year or one terajoule of gas per year. In South East Queensland, we can also help residential and small business water customers with complaints when their water consumption is less than 100 kilolitres a year.

We can investigate unresolved disputes about:

  • account errors and disputes
  • connection of supply
  • customer service issues
  • damages and loss
  • disconnections and restrictions
  • equipment issues
  • extensions to supply
  • guaranteed service levels
  • marketing and contract issues
  • problems with payment
  • supply quality and reliability
  • vegetation management
  • (for water) burst pipes, leaks, blockages and spills.

Cases and complaints

A case is any contact a customer has with us, while complaints are those cases that are billed to a scheme participant and include refer backs, refer to higher levels and investigations.

Case types


592 = 9% of cases closed

Sometimes customers contact us with an enquiry about their energy or water. We can provide them with advice and if we’re unable to help, we refer them to an organisation who can. This year enquiries increased by 3%.

Refer back

2,027= 32% of cases closed

Before we can help, customers need to give their provider a chance to fix the problem first. If a customer contacts us and they haven’t contacted their provider to discuss the issue, we note the case as a refer back. This year, refer backs to energy and water providers increased by 11%.

Referral to other organisations

639 = 10% of cases closed

For disputes outside our jurisdiction, we have Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the following organisations to ensure timely exchange of information and referral of cases, where relevant:

  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Australian Energy Market Commission
  • Australian Energy Regulator
  • Department of Energy and Public Works
  • Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water
  • Office of Fair Trading
  • Queensland Competition Authority
  • Queensland Ombudsman.

This year, referrals to other organisations decreased by 19%. More than half (58%) of these cases were referred to the Office of Fair Trading, including complaints about bulk hot water, bottled gas and solar installation. Referrals to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) accounted for 26% of referrals.

Refer to higher level (RHL)

2,124 = 34% of cases closed

This process escalates a complaint to a higher level within the energy or water provider. Based on the complaint, an early resolution team member determines whether the matter could be resolved through an RHL or should be investigated.

We prepare an RHL notice with a summary of the customer’s issue for the provider, who are required to contact the customer within 5 business days. If contact is not made, or the problem remains unresolved, customers can request us to investigate.

This year, we have seen a 29% increase in refer to higher level cases and a corresponding 29% decrease in investigations because of a change in our service delivery model.


874 =14% of cases closed

This was made up of 444 Level 1 investigations (51%), 345 Level 2 (39%) and 85 Level 3 (105).

Once an investigation commences, we prepare a notice of investigation detailing the customer’s issue. The provider is required to respond back to us within 10 business days. We will liaise between the customer and provider to achieve a fair and reasonable resolution.

Where our investigations determine the provider’s actions were appropriate, the complaint will be closed, and the parties advised of the decision and our reasons. Where an error is found, we will try to negotiate a suitable outcome, for example:

  • a payment plan for an overdue account
  • reconnection of energy supply
  • compensation for damage to equipment.

This year, we closed 874 investigations (down from 1,237 in 2020-21).

Investigation levels are based on the time spent on the complaint. Level 3 investigations are the most complex and take many hours to resolve. In 2021-22, Level 3 investigations took an average of 9.6 hours to resolve, with the longest taking 22.8 hours.

Final order

If we cannot achieve informal resolution of the complaint, the matter may be finalised in a number of ways.

Firstly, a decision can be made under section 22 of the Act to not investigate or to discontinue the investigation. There were 21 cases finalised this way in 2021-22.

Secondly, if a matter cannot be resolved by negotiation or conciliation, the Ombudsman may decide to make a final order requiring an energy or water supplier to take certain action. No final orders were issued this year.

Among other things, the Ombudsman can order energy and water suppliers to:

  • pay compensation
  • provide a non-monetary solution to remedy the dispute
  • amend a stated charge under the Act
  • cancel a negotiated contract
  • perform corrective work.

Notice of Withdrawal

A customer can withdraw a case during its investigation. There were 3 notices of withdrawal during 2021-22.

Quality Assurance

We conducted regular quality assurance assessment cycles throughout 2021-22 across multiple complaint types and investigation levels. More than 240 cases were reviewed and results analysed to ensure our data accuracy and case management practices were effective, efficient and compliant.


Throughout the year, quality benchmarks were regularly examined to ensure they remain agile within our diverse sector.

A review of our quality assurance model was undertaken to transition from a quality assurance to a quality management perspective. Key changes included:

  • tailoring our monthly quality assurance activities to include key pain points identified in the monthly voice of customer feedback
  • changing the metric from a met/not met to a percentage to provide a true reflection and story of the assessment, with a strong emphasis on our customer experience and the associated communication
  • expanding quality measures across our customer service processes, creating a pathway for a holistic quality management framework. Three customer journeys were considered as part of the quality assessment cycles, with findings and areas for improvement shared with the dispute resolution team to deliver a unified approach to providing high quality customer experiences.

Time taken to resolve complaints

This year, we exceeded our service standard targets, closing 88% (5,499) of cases in less than 28 days, 98% of cases in less than 60 days (6,158) and more than 99% of cases in less than 90 days (6,228).

The increase in the percentage of cases closed within 28 days this year demonstrated our continued commitment to maintain our service delivery standards while also improving our service for customers.

Time taken to close cases

Time taken to close cases against performance targets.
Time taken



Less than 28 days




Less than 60 days




Less than 90 days



> 99%

More than 90 days

< 5%


< 1%

Embedded networks

During 2021-22, our jurisdiction was expanded to include embedded networks

Systemic issues

There were 153 potential systemic issues recorded in 2021-22

See the official copy of the 2021-22 annual report, as tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, on the Queensland Parliament's tabled papers website.