EWOV’s Assisted Referral process is for the majority of energy and water customers that approach EWOV with a complaint, a successful way to quickly and informally resolve their issue.
Our surveying of customers after having had their case handled through the Assisted Referral process tells us that for most customers it results in an outcome that they are satisfied with.
And it gives the company another chance to repair its relationship with the customer.
How does an Assisted Referral work?
Not many people know that only about 15 percent of EWOV cases require an Investigation, and that the vast majority are handled through the Assisted Referral process.
In these cases, we discuss the complaint with the customer, provide them with information about their rights and responsibilities, and contact their company to request a higher-level contact to investigate the complaint.
From this point the company is required to contact the customer within three business days by phone (or within five business days in writing) and has 15 days to resolve the customer’s complaint.
Importantly, customers not satisfied with the resolution offered by the company, can recontact EWOV so that their complaint can be looked into further.
Complaints not suitable for the Assisted Referral process
If a complaint is particularly complex or the customer has special circumstances, EWOV may bypass the Assisted Referral process and register an Investigation.
When EWOV has an open Investigation, the customer’s company must reconnect their electricity or gas, or de-restrict their water supply.
Disconnection complaints When a customer approaches EWOV about a gas or electricity disconnection, or water restriction, we will raise a same-day reconnection request with the customer’s company.
However, EWOV cannot guarantee that the reconnection will occur (for example, if the customer contacts EWOV close to the end of the business day), but we do request the company contact the customer if they are not to be reconnected.
What if the Assisted Referral fails?
EWOV does not follow up on the progress of cases handled as Assisted Referrals. If the customer is not contacted by their company or the complaint still remains unresolved, it is the customer’s responsibility to let us know, so we can investigate further.
If this happens, we might try to resolve the complaint by negotiating directly with the energy or water company through our Real Time Resolution process, but sometimes, cases are too complex to be successfully resolved in this way also.
If this is the case, an EWOV Conciliator will address the customer’s concerns by starting an Investigation, in which all relevant information from both the customer and the company are reviewed in order to reach a fair and reasonable outcome.
Read more information about our approach to dispute resolution. More information about our Assisted Referral process in particular can be found in the February 2016 issue [PDF, 1.47 MB] of our quarterly publication Res Online.