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Common complaints

Information about complaints related to solar, privacy, customer service, marketing and issues that we haven’t covered in other pages.

We can take complaints about the customer service you receive from your electricity, gas or water company. In many cases, the service you receive from your company must meet certain minimum standards, such as the help it must provide you if you’re having trouble paying a bill. Those standards are covered in our other ‘common complaints’ pages.

You may, however, have a complaint about customer service that doesn’t fit into those standards, for example:

  • if you were promised a call from a manager but never received the call
  • if you were given incorrect advice or information
  • if a representative at the company was rude or unprofessional.

Electricity and gas companies engage in sales and marketing to attract customers to their business. Electricity and gas operate as competitive markets in Victoria. However, there are rules companies must follow when engaging in sales and marketing.

  • Salespeople must be honest and they must not mislead you into thinking they’re from your current electricity or gas company, your distributor or the government.
  • Salespeople must not pressure you to make a decision.
  • Salespeople must leave your property if you ask them to.
  • Salespeople must not visit your property if you have a Do Not Knock sticker clearly placed outside your front door.
  • Salespeople must not call you if your phone number is registered on the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Do Not Call Register.

Salespeople can only contact you at your door or over the phone within certain hours:

  • Monday to Friday: 9am—6pm (at your door)
  • Monday to Friday: 9am—8pm (by phone)
  • Saturday: 9am—5pm
  • Sunday and public holidays are not allowed.

If you sign a new contract for electricity or gas, you have a cooling-off period of 10 business days that lets you cancel the contract without penalty.

Water companies don’t engage in sales and marketing, since Victorian customers can’t choose their water provider. It’s based on where you live. However, your water company may send you information about water issues, such as how to reduce your water consumption.

Changes to marketing rules

From 1 September 2021, door-to-door sales for solar businesses were banned under the Solar Homes Program.

From 31 December 2021, electricity and gas companies were banned from using high pressure sales tactics such as door-to-door sales or cold-calling.

Solar power is generated by the sun’s light, so it only works during the day. The sun shines on photovoltaic solar panels to generate Direct Current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity feeds into a solar inverter that converts it to 230V (Volts) 50Hz (Hertz) Alternating Current (AC) electricity.

The 230V AC electricity is used to power electrical products in your home. This energy is clean energy, since it’s produced by the sun and can significantly reduce your electricity bills. Any excess solar-generated electricity that can be exported to the grid will result in solar credits on your bill.

Switching to solar

The process for switching to solar can be complicated. It’s important to do research and ensure that you understand the approval and connection process. The approval process will depend on where you live, as each electricity distributor has different steps and requirements.

Read our Solar FAQs fact sheet for more information or visit the Solar Victoria website.

Feed-in tariffs

Solar feed-in tariffs are the amount your electricity retailer will pay you back for the solar-generated electricity you send to the grid.

Any solar-generated electricity that you don’t use may be exported back to the electricity grid, however, there are limits on how much the grid can handle. You may be approved for a smaller solar system than your neighbours if there are already a lot of households exporting solar-generated electricity to the grid. Read our Solar FAQs fact sheet for more information.

Solar feed-in tariffs are set by the Essential Services Commission and can vary each year.

Read our Solar feed-in tariffs fact sheet for more information.

Solar complaints we can and can’t take

We can help with complaints about your electricity companies. For example, we can help with issues related to your electricity account, missing solar credits, connection issues and metering.

We can’t investigate complaints about solar retailers and installation companies (the companies that deal with the photovoltaic/solar panels). Please contact Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Clean Energy Council.

Embedded networks are private electricity networks that supply electricity to homes or businesses within one area, such as an apartment building, shopping centre, caravan park or retirement village. Usually, the operator of the embedded network buys electricity in bulk and then sells it to customers inside the embedded network. Embedded network customers have most of the same rights and protections as other electricity customers.

Visit the About embedded networks page for more information.

Electricity, gas and water companies can sometimes breach a customer’s privacy. You may have a complaint about how your company handled your privacy, such as:

  • Your company gave your information to someone who is not the account holder or to another company.
  • Your company requested information that you are not willing to give.
  • Your company sourced private information about you without your consent.
  • Your company refused to discuss your account with your authorised representative.

There are additional privacy requirements for victim-survivors of family violence. Read our Family violence support fact sheet for more information.

‘Bulk hot water’ is water that is centrally heated (usually by gas) and piped to a number of customers in a multi-dwelling property, such as an apartment building or block of flats.

Buildings using bulk hot water are billed on the gas meter used to heat the water. If you also use gas for cooking or heating, it could mean your gas bills come from two different retailers — one for your share of the bulk hot water and one for your cooking/heating. You will also get a bill for your cold water usage, as this comes from your local water company.

If you live in a building with bulk hot water, you must stay with the retailer providing that bulk hot water. However, a collective choice about changing retailer could be made by the owners'corporation or building management.

We can take complaints about many of the problems that can happen with bulk hot water, such as billing and payment difficulties. We can’t, however, take complaints about an owners’ corporation or building management.

Read our Bulk hot water fact sheet for more information.

If you have a complaint about these issues or any other issue related to your electricity, gas or water company, contact your company to tell it about your complaint and ask how your complaint can be resolved. If you’re not happy with its response, contact us.

We can help with most complaints about energy or water issues in Victoria, big or small. Our service is free to Victorian customers.

Visit the Start a complaint page for more information about what complaints we can and can’t take.

"The problem was resolved very quickly"

Usman* Victorian customer * Name has been changed

Need general information?

If you don’t have a complaint but just want some general information, we call this an enquiry. We may even be able to refer you to another agency.

You can make an enquiry at any time. Call us on 1800 500 509, send us an email or start a live chat.

I didn’t understand why they called me

An electricity company called Robin* to get her to transfer. She couldn’t give her consent because of a medical condition.

*names have been changed

Read Robyn's story

My meter was underground. How could I check my usage?

Tony’s* water bill was more than $3,000. The problem was he didn’t know there was a leak or where his meter was.

*names have been changed

Read Tony's story

Not having power for two days was really tough

Chanelle* lost power for two days because of a storm. A lot of food spoilt in her fridge and she wanted help.

*names have been changed

Read Chanelle's story