Public Policy Submissions Made by EWOV
July 2012, August 2012 and September 2012
Senate Select Committee Inquiry on Electricity Prices
In August 2012, the Senate established the Select Committee on Electricity Prices to inquire and report on a range of matters related to electricity prices. We made a submission based on EWOV’s case handling experience. We observed that electricity prices have a potential impact across several complaint areas—especially customer financial hardship, energy disconnections and higher-than-expected energy bills. Supporting this, we provided information about EWOV cases and trends. We also commented on the Inquiry's Terms of Reference—around vulnerable and low income customers, customer choice and information, energy efficiency and new technologies.
The Senate Select Committee released its report on 1 November 2012. The full report and links to sections of it can be found here
Draft 2013 Water Plan Addenda
The Essential Services Commission released a Draft 2013 Water Plan Addendum for each of the metropolitan water corporations — City West Water, South East Water, Yarra Valley Water — and Melbourne Water. Based on EWOV’s experience in dealing with customer complaints about affordability and related issues, we suggested opportunities for water corporations to:
- improve the early identification of customers in hardship
- have early conversations with customers to discuss affordability and payment options before hardship becomes a long-term issue
- ensure front line staff are equipped and trained to deal with customers who are experiencing financial difficulty and/or have special circumstances
- strengthen relationships with community organisations
- engage with customers who need assistance
- ensure that eligible customers receive concessions and grants (where applicable)
- improve the exchange of information between their credit and hardship departments
- improve record keeping to ensure that details of customer contracts and assistance provided to them are available.
Our submissions are available here
Water Customer Service Code Review 2012 – Regulation of Debt Management Powers
In September 2012, the Essential Services Commission issued a consultation paper for its Water Customer Service Code Review 2012 – Regulation of Debt Management Powers. As well as providing EWOV case data and trends, we supported the fair and reasonable approach that the ESC’s guiding principles provide—particularly for vulnerable customers and those exhibiting hardship indicators. We also recommended that customers be warned before any debt management powers are implemented—preferably in writing via the bill and/or a bill insert.