Out of jurisdiction
We can't investigate complaints about private contractors engaged by the customer (electricians, plumbers and gas fitters). This includes contracting arms of electricity, gas and water providers where the work is open to competitive quotation. If your problem relates to a private contractor, contact Fair Trading NSW.
We can provide advice to tenants about high bills caused by a fixed appliance (eg hot water heater) but we do not resolve disputes with landlords. Advice about these issues is available from Fair Trading NSW or Tenants NSW.
Complaints about LPG (bottled gas) providers are out of our jurisdiction. Please contact Fair Trading NSW for assistance with LPG complaints.
Electricity prices are set by the retailers. Frequency of price changes will depend on the terms of your contract.
EWON has no role or authority in setting prices. This means we are not able to investigate complaints about price increases. We can review whether charges and tariffs have been correctly applied to an account. If you receive a bill that you consider does not accurately reflect your usage, and your retailer is not able to explain it or you are not satisfied with their response, you can contact us for assistance.
Energy charges on your bills
The tariff you see on your electricity or gas bill reflects the retailer’s costs of supplying the electricity or gas to you, which includes:
- the costs of purchasing wholesale electricity or gas
- the cost of transporting it through the transmission and distribution networks (network charges are set separately by the Australian Energy Regulator)
- the retail operating costs such as billing and operating call centres.
Retail tariffs comprise both fixed and variable charges:
- The variable component is applied to the amount of electricity or gas you use. Electricity is expressed in cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) and gas in cents per megajoule (MJ). This will vary each quarter, depending on your usage.
- The supply charge is expressed in cents per day. This represents the fixed charges the retailer and network incur, (for example meter readings, maintaining the poles and wires/pipes, vegetation management, maintaining a call centre) regardless of how much energy the customer uses. Every customer pays this supply charge, even if they have consumed little or no energy at all.
What should you be paying?
How much you pay for electricity or gas each quarter depends on how much energy you consumed and the tariff you are charged.
The retail tariff you are charged will depend on the type of contract you have with your retailer.
- Customers on a market contract: As the retail energy market is competitive, retailers charge different tariffs. Each retailer offers a variety of contracts and they may introduce new offers or deals at any time. Contracts contain various terms and conditions such as the duration of the contract, and the period benefits such as discounts, and any fees, apply to.
- Customers on a standing offer contract: Domestic electricity customers who don’t opt for a market contract will be supplied on a standing offer contract with the retailer who has the billing rights for the site. Customers who open an account at a site where there is an existing connection can be supplied by the retailer who currently supplies the site or their chosen retailer. In both cases, customers are encouraged to contact the retailer to discuss the tariff as standing offer rates may be higher than market contract rates. Standing offer rates are available on retailer websites.
- Small business customers typically consume more energy than a standard domestic customer. If they consume more than 100,000 kWh electricity per year or 1 terrajoule of gas per year they are required to enter into a ‘large market’ contract. Large market contracts do not have the consumer protections available to customers who use less energy. It is therefore important to fully understand the terms and conditions of the contract.
The Australian Energy Regulator maintains a free comparator website energymadeeasy.gov.au where customers compare offers from electricity and gas retailers. You can also visit the NSW Government's free Energy Switch site to compare electricity plans and receive help to switch.