We're an independent service that investigates and resolves complaints. We deal with complaints in Victoria’s electricity, gas and water sector, covering most companies that offer services to customers. You can also contact us to talk about an issue without starting a formal complaint.
We’re free to Victorian customers. That means you won’t have to pay to contact us or have us look into your complaint.
Visit the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA) website for more information about ombudsman services.
“We’re free to Victorian customers”
We’re an independent and impartial dispute resolution service. That means we’re not on anyone’s side. We look at the facts and circumstances of every complaint to make a fair and reasonable decision as quickly as possible. We also provide advice and information to customers, and we can refer you to other support services.
We also look back at the cases that come to us to find systemic issues that affect groups of customers. We often report these issues to energy and water companies and regulators so that they can fix the underlying problems. We share anonymous data and write reports on our cases to help the industry reduce the occurrence of complaints.
“We look at the facts and circumstances of every complaint to make a fair and reasonable decision”
We’re not part of the government. We’re a not-for-profit independent company.
Energy and water companies that fall within our scope must become a member of EWOV. Customers of those companies can come to us for free with enquiries or complaints about those companies. The company is then charged a fee by us for dealing with those enquiries or complaints.
Our investigations are not influenced by anyone. We make fair and reasonable decisions that look at the facts, laws and good industry practice.
Victoria’s electricity industry was privatised in the early 1990s. As part of this change, a free dispute resolution service was seen as an important way for customers to resolve disputes that they couldn’t work out directly with their company.
The industry chose an ombudsman model for this dispute resolutions service. The Electricity Industry Ombudsman (Victoria) was formed by six electricity companies.
The original electricity companies were joined by other electricity companies, by gas companies in 1999 and by water companies in 2001. Our name changed from Electricity Industry Ombudsman (Victoria) to the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria).
Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) is a company limited by guarantee. The company’s objective is to independently and efficiently resolve disputes between customers and energy and water service providers in Victoria, with the further aim of reducing the occurrence of disputes.
To meet this objective, it has set up a dispute resolution scheme and selected an Ombudsman who has authority under the Charter to receive, investigate and facilitate the resolution of complaints.
Our governance structure ensures EWOV's independence from industry. The EWOV Board has an equal number of industry and consumer directors, as well as an independent Chair who must not be associated with any director or any company participating in the scheme. The Ombudsman, who is appointed by the Board, must not be associated with any company participating in the scheme.
“Our governance structure ensures EWOV's independence from industry”
The nine-person board is made up of an independent Chairman, four consumer directors nominated by Victoria's Essential Services Commission and four energy/water industry directors elected by EWOV Limited's industry members.
“I've never used such a service before. I was blown away with the outstanding response to my phone request for help. The person really took the time to clearly identify the circumstances I found myself in and most importantly helped me clearly identify the action needed to resolve my issue. The subsequent communication was excellent and the solution was enacted within the timescale anticipated. I've told many of my friends of my great experience with you and even now I get excited recalling the process. Many thanks.”