"It’s clear that access to free, fair and independent external resolution must remain relevant and keep pace with evolving consumer needs, technologies and business models."
2022-2023 was a year of evolving and new challenges, opportunities and priorities – many of which continue this current financial year. One of my key reflections from my first year with EWOV, is how many common and positive interests we share with consumers, providers, government, regulators and the wider community. We are all here to help improve outcomes for energy and water markets in Victoria.
Our case numbers stabilised to a degree after falling for four years, a time that coincided with COVID-19 measures such as reduced disconnections and debt collection, and increased government financial support. In the 2022-23 financial year, we received 15,262 cases, down slightly from 16,038 in the previous year.
While it is hard to predict overall case numbers, based on insights gained through data analysis, considerations of emerging trends such as price rises, and increased credit activity, we anticipate a modest increase in the 2023-24 period.
As consumers and markets make the shift to renewable sources of energy, EWOV is positioned to help support trust and confidence through free, independent, accessible, effective and fair alternative dispute resolution.
New consumer energy resources and expanded transmission networks, in particular, present challenges around issues such as billing and payment difficulties, land access, privacy and customer service. Effective external dispute resolution is critical for maintaining consumer trust in evolving and complex markets.
It’s clear that access to free, fair and independent external resolution must remain relevant and keep pace with evolving consumer needs, technologies and business models. In fact, as a key safety net, dispute resolution must remain a step ahead of evolving consumer needs and business models.
As industry and policymakers consider these issues going forward, we will continue to make our unique data and insights available to support the transition.
You can read the Ombudsman's full overview of the year in our report.