Glossary

Cases

'Cases' refers to both enquiries and complaints that were received during the reporting period. An enquiry is a customer's request for general information. EWOV may provide this information itself or refer the customer to another agency. A 'complaint' is an expression of dissatisfaction regarding a policy, practice or customer service performance of an energy or water company that is part of the EWOV scheme, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.

Complaints are further categorised as either Unassisted Referrals, Assisted Referrals or Investigations. We record an Unassisted Referral where a customer has not yet spoken with their company about their complaint and we refer them back to the company's contact centre. We lodge an Assisted Referral where a customer has spoken with someone at their company's contact centre about their complaint, but it remains unresolved and we refer the matter to a higher level complaint resolution officer at the company. And we begin an Investigation where:

  • an Assisted Referral has failed as the matter remains unresolved, and the customer recontacts EWOV
  • the matter is complex and unlikely to be resolved as an Assisted Referral
  • or the company asks for the matter to be escalated to an Investigation.
  • Outcomes

    We do not investigate Unassisted or Assisted Referrals, although we do remind customers that they can return to us if they remain dissatisfied. Usually, the customer is satisfied and doesn't return to us, so we do not learn of the outcomes of Unassisted and Assisted Referrals. Outcome data refers only to Investigations. Outcome data also refers to cases closed during the reporting period, a proportion of which were received in previous quarters. Most closed Investigations have multiple outcomes. Thus, percentages in outcome tables do not add to 100.

    Wrongful Disconnection Payment (WDP) assessments

    In actual disconnection Investigations, EWOV has a role assessing if there has been a compliance breach because the disconnection did not comply with the terms and conditions of the customer's contract. A payment to the customer may be required if such a breach is found.

    EWOV conducts this assessment for each actual disconnection Investigation. However, the Investigation and assessment are separate and may conclude at different times. WDP figures are for assessments closed during the period. Where we assess the WDP as being payable, we also identify the specific associated compliance breach. Compliance breach figures relate to those WDP assessments with the outcome paid (admission of breach).

    Billing > Backbill

    A complaint about a backbill issued by a provider. Often referred to as 'catch-up bills', these bills usually contain previously uncharged or under-charged amounts. Customers might receive a backbill after a billing delay, or due to underestimated bills or incorrect bills.

    Fact sheet: Backbilling, refunds and lost payments

    Billing > Bulk Hot Water

    A complaint about bulk hot water. Bulk hot water is water that is centrally heated by gas or electricity, and delivered to many customers in a multi-dwelling property such as an apartment building. Each individual apartment has its own bulk hot water meter that measures the amount of hot water consumed. Customers are likely to receive a separate bill for bulk hot water.

    Fact sheet: Bulk hot water

    Billing > Concession

    A complaint about a Government concession, such as errors when applying a concession to a bill. Concessions may include:

    • Annual electricity concession
    • Controlled load electricity concession
    • Electricity transfer fee waiver (charged by electricity retailers when account holders move house)
    • Excess electricity or gas concession
    • Life support concession
    • Medical cooling concession
    • Non-mains energy concession
    • Service to property charge concession
    • Winter Gas Concession

    Concessions & benefits: Department of Health and Human Services

    Billing > Delay

    A complaint about not receiving bills when expected.

    Billing > Error

    A complaint about an error relating to a missing discount, a double bill or other error in billing.

    Billing > Estimation

    A complaint about an estimated bill. Providers sometimes issue bills with estimated charges when actual usage data isn't available. Common causes of estimated bills include the distributor having problems obtaining data from a meter or the meter reader being unable to access the meter.

    Fact sheet: Estimated bills

    Billing > Fees and Charges

    A complaint about fees and charges from a provider, such as administration fees for receiving or paying bills, connection fees, meter read fees, and parks charges.

    Fact sheet: Charges on water bills (metropolitan water corporations)

    Fact sheet: Charges on water bills (regional urban water corporations)

    Billing > Format

    A complaint about the format of bills such as the name of the account holder, unclear due dates or readability.

    Billing > High

    A complaint about a gas, electricity or water bill being higher than usual.

    Billing > Meter

    A complaint about receiving incorrect or higher than usual bills because of a faulty meter, meter reading problems or other concerns related to meters.

    Billing > Refund

    A complaint about a refund that was received or expected to be received from a provider. Complaints may include a delay receiving the refund, incorrect amounts, processed by the wrong method (e.g. cheque instead of bank transfer) or providing credit to an account instead of a refund.

    Billing > Tariff

    A complaint about tariffs, such as price increases, flexible pricing, loss of off-peak rates, network tariffs set by distribution businesses, and retail tariffs set by the retailer.

    Billing > Other

    A complaint about gas, electricity or water bills that don't fit under any of the other billing issues.

    Credit > Collection

    A complaint about a collection, such as a dispute about the amount of debt owed to a provider, the way staff have behaved during debt collection, an external debt collection agency's actions, a credit default listing or other concerns around collection activities.

    Fact sheet: Credit default listings and debt collection

    Credit > Deliveries Stopped

    A complaint about an LPG provider regarding deliveries stopped or about to be stopped due to unpaid bills or debt.

    Credit > Disconnection/Restriction

    A complaint about gas, electricity or water being disconnected or restricted, or receiving a warning notice.

    Credit > Payment Difficulties

    A complaint about difficulty making payments, including problems making direct debit payments or setting up a direct debit payment, problems paying bills as an account holder or non-account holder, or about seeking an extension to the due date, seeking to pay in instalments or seeking to pay in a lump sum rather than in instalments.

    Customer Service > Failure to Consult / Inform

    A complaint about a provider's actions around consulting or informing a customer.

    Customer Service > Failure to Respond

    A complaint about a provider's response, such as a customer being promised a call from a manager but not receiving contact from the manager.

    Customer Service > Incorrect Advice / Information

    A complaint about a provider giving a customer incorrect advice or information.

    Customer Service > Poor Service

    A complaint about dissatisfaction with customer service received from a provider. An example may be the impression that the conduct of a customer service representative or an agent of the company, such as a meter reader, was rude or unprofessional.

    General Enquiry > Energy / Water

    A complaint about energy or water that doesn't fit under other more specific categories, such as a case where the customer hasn't given enough information.

    General Enquiry > Non Energy / Water

    A complaint that doesn't relate to energy or water, including where a call ended before the customer gave any detail or calls about other organisations such as telecommunications companies, government departments or real estate agents.

    Land > Easement

    A complaint about easements, both new and existing. Cases may include access to the easement without notice by the provider, placement of the easement, compensation for the easement or damage to the customer's property when a provider accessed the easement.

    Land > Network Assets

    A complaint about a provider's assets that may include a health and safety risk caused by the asset, including concern about electrocution due to low power lines or blocked sewers, the provider's maintenance or lack of maintenance of its asset, or placement of a network asset, including inconvenience caused by a pole, substation or meter.

    Land > Property Damage

    A complaint about the way land or property has been affected by a provider's activities or assets, including seeking compensation for property damage.

    Land > Street Lighting

    A complaint about street lighting, including delays repairing street lights or the location or intensity of street lights.

    Land > Vegetation Management

    A complaint about the way a provider has managed vegetation, such as concern about the extent of pruning or damage to the health of a tree, or lack of notification of pruning.

    Land > Other

    A complaint about the way land or property has been affected by a provider's activities or assets that doesn't fit under other land issues.

    Marketing > Information

    A complaint about marketing activities taking place door-to-door, over the phone or by another sales channel.

    Fact sheet: Energy marketing

    Marketing > Misleading

    A complaint about misleading or incorrect information given to encourage a customer or someone else, such as a neighbour or family member, to transfer.

    Marketing > Pressure Sales

    A complaint about a provider's representative pressuring or intimidating a customer or someone else, such as a neighbour or a family member, to transfer.

    Marketing > Other

    A complaint about a provider's marketing that doesn't fit under other marketing issues, such as wanting to be removed from a marketing database.

    Privacy > Details Released

    A complaint about a provider giving information, such as a customer's name or address, to someone who is not the account holder or to another company.

    Privacy > Details Requested by Provider

    A complaint about the request for information, such as date of birth or drivers licence number, requested by a provider.

    Privacy > Details Obtained Without Consent

    A complaint about a provider obtaining details without consent and how the information is used.

    Privacy > Disclosure Refused by Provider

    A complaint about a provider refusing to discuss an account with a non-account holder, such as a friend or relative who wants to act on behalf of the account holder.

    Privacy > Other

    A complaint about privacy that doesn't fit under other privacy issues.

    Provision > Deliveries Stopped

    A complaint about an LPG provider stopping or notifying a customer it will stop deliveries of LPG, due to issues such as to safety concerns or site access

    Provision > Disconnection / Restriction

    A complaint about disconnection or restriction of a customer's supply of gas, electricity or water due to issues such a perceived error, meter access or a defect.

    Provision > Existing Connection

    A complaint about an existing gas, electricity or water connection that relates to issues such as removal of a meter, delay of disconnection, delay of connection, meter exchange, repairs to an existing connection, safety of an existing connection or upgrade of supply.

    Provision > New Connection

    A complaint about a new gas, electricity or water connection that related to issues such as the cost of a new connection, delay in connection or information about a new connection.

    Supply > Off Supply - Planned

    A complaint about planned gas, electricity or water outages that relates to issues such as damage to property or appliances, the duration of an outage, the frequency of outages, the inconvenience of an outage or the notice and information provided about a planned outage.

    Supply > Off Supply - Unplanned

    A complaint about unplanned gas, electricity or water outages that relates to issues such as damage to property or appliances, the duration of an outage, the frequency of outages, the inconvenience of an outage or the information provided about a planned outage, such as a customer trying to find out about the outage but not receiving an explanation.

    Supply > Quality

    A complaint about the quality of gas or water supply including concerns about the pressure of supply.

    Supply > Sewer/Stormwater Overflow/Blockage

    A complaint about overflow or blockage of a sewer or stormwater pipe, including concerns about who is responsible for maintaining infrastructure.

    Supply > Variation

    A complaint about electricity voltage variation or gas/water pressure variation, including issues related to damage to property or appliances and the frequency of variation.

    Supply > Water Licensing

    A complaint about water licensing such as dams, entitlement to water or transfer of a licence.

    Fact sheet: Water licensing and EWOV

    Transfer > Contract Terms

    A complaint about the terms of a contract, including the belief that price or the terms of the contract have varied from what a customer agreed to.

    Transfer > Cooling Off Rights

    A complaint about cooling off rights, including the belief that a customer cancelled a transfer to a new retailer within the cooling-off period and that the provider didn't action the cancellation.

    Transfer > Delay

    A complaint about the delay in transfer of a gas or electricity service to a new provider.

    Transfer > In Error

    A complaint about the transfer of gas or electricity service in error, such as a provider transferring a customer's service instead of a neighbour's service.

    Transfer > Objection

    A complaint about the prevention of transfer to a new gas or electricity provider due to issues such as a current provider objecting to the transfer because of debt, the meter at a customer's property or due to poor credit history.

    Transfer > Without Consent

    A complaint about the transfer of a customer's gas or electricity supply to a new provider without the customer's consent.