Who we are

EWOV is a not-for-profit, independent and impartial dispute resolution service. We handle most complaints about energy and water issues, providing Victorian customers with free, accessible, informal and fast dispute resolution.

Our work

For customers with complaints, we use alternative dispute resolution processes to resolve disputes impartially, informally and quickly. We aim to make fair and reasonable decisions, taking into account the circumstances of the case, good industry practice and the law. For customers with general enquiries, we provide advice, information and referral.

From the cases we receive, we identify systemic issues and report these to the energy or water company and regulators so that they can be addressed.

We publish information about energy and water complaints, issues and trends.

We work with energy and water companies, regulators and consumer groups to drive customer service improvements and help prevent complaints.

Our governance and structure

Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) Limited (EWOV Limited) is a company limited by guarantee.

EWOV's governance structure of the scheme, and the boundaries of its case handling powers, is set out in updated versions of the EWOV Constitution [PDF, 512 KB] and EWOV Charter [PDF, 425 KB]

EWOV Limited'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 fulfil its objective, it has set up a dispute resolution scheme called the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) (EWOV) and appointed 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.

The nine-person board consists 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.

Our history

When Victoria's electricity industry was reformed and privatised in the early 1990s, government recognised that consumer protections had to be built into these reforms. A free, impartial dispute resolution service was seen as an important protection that would give customers an avenue to resolve disputes that they couldn't work out directly with their company.

The industry Ombudsman model, which had been successful elsewhere, was chosen. As the first scheme of its kind in the world, EWOV Limited was founded in August 1995 as Electricity Industry Ombudsman (Victoria) Limited (EIOV Limited) by six electricity companies – CitiPower Limited, Solaris Power Limited, Powercor Australia Limited, United Energy Limited, Eastern Energy Limited and PowerNet Victoria.

The original electricity participants were later joined by other electricity companies, gas companies in 1999 and water companies in 2001, and EIOV Limited became EWOV Limited.