"Our work on the dispute resolution front line gave us unique insights on how customers were coping in the COVID-19 environment."
When I look back on how EWOV managed the 2020-21 'new normal', our resilience is the quality which shines most brightly. Personally and organisationally, the EWOV team rose to the challenge of coping with the difficulties delivered by COVID-19, staying on track and springing back in good shape. At the same time, we continued to challenge ourselves about how we do what we do, and what that should look like going forward.
We committed to an overarching three-part promise that captures what EWOV's key stakeholders (energy and water customers, energy and water companies, regulators, government and the community) should rightly expect when engaging with us. Summarised below, The EWOV Promise is now the framework through which we look at everything we do.
- We will find you.
- We will explain it for you.
- We will work with you.
Our work on the dispute resolution front line gave us unique insights on how customers were coping in the COVID-19 environment. We shared these insights on the customer experience, and our tracking of complaint issues and trends, with government and regulators through regular data briefings, and in other forums.
In December 2020, we published Missing the Mark, a major piece of research on the Payment Difficulty Framework (PDF) introduced by the Essential Services Commission in January 2019. The research report documents what we know from our case handling about where the PDF has been working and where (and how) it hasn't.
In mid-2021, we completed a second major report, VOICES (Victorian Energy and Water Ombudsman's Investigation of Consumer Experiences). This report investigates the consumer experience of new energy products and services — such as solar, home batteries, electric vehicles, home energy management systems, microgrids and virtual power plants.
Despite the challenges the year threw up, we finished 2020-21 well positioned to understand and respond to the needs of all of EWOV's stakeholders.
You can read the Ombudsman's full overview of the year in our report.