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Annual Report 2019/2020

The theme of our 2019/2020 Annual Report is responsive and resilient.

This financial year was full of significant challenges for all business, including horrific bushfires, devastating storms and the COVID-19 pandemic.  Put to the test, we quickly adapted and set about demonstrating the responsiveness and resilience we’ve developed in recent years.

Read highlights from our 2019/2020 Annual Report or download the full report.

Note that the data in this report is drawn from complaints received by EWON during the 2019/2020 financial year, unless otherwise specified. Our open complaint data varies in accordance with complaint progression and figures in this report reflect complaint status as at 7 July 2020.

  • Annual Report overview - WATCH
  • The big picture
  • Complaints this year
  • Complaint issues
  • Resolutions and outcomes

Our year in review

Highlights from 2019/2020

We received 19,370 complaints in 2019/2020, a decrease of 26% from 2018/2019.

The Australian Energy Regulator’s 2019 revised Customer Hardship Guideline and its COVID-19 Statement of Expectations were key contributing factors as they significantly reduced energy related disconnections, debt collection and credit default listing.

We expect that once COVID-related financial support from the government ends, complaints will increase as customers find themselves with accrued energy debt and reduced income.

  • Billing complaints continued to be the most significant issue raised by consumers in NSW — present in 62% of all complaints, rising by 3% in 2019/2020. Billing issues include high and estimated bills, errors, and problems with opening and closing accounts.
  • Energy affordability was the second most prevalent issue, remaining steady from the previous year and accounting for 20% of all complaints.
  • The third most significant complaint issue related to poor customer service, failure to respond, incorrect advice or information, and failure to consult or inform customers. Customer service issues were present in 31% of complaints, down 8% on the previous year.
  • Electricity accounted for 80% of total complaints and gas 16% - both comparable to the prior year. Complaints about water continued to be very low at just 4% of all complaints.

Complaints received

Complaints received 2014 to 2020

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Complaint outcomes

Graph showing breakdown of complaints received in 2019/2020

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Top three issues

Top 3 complaint issues in 2019/2020

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How we received complaints

Graph showing how we received complaints in 2019/2020

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Complaint issues

Complaint by primary issue

We open one complaint when a customer contacts us but they often experience more than one complaint issue, such as a high bill and poor customer service. Therefore the number of complaint issues is greater than the number of cases received.

How we categorise complaint issues

  • Billing: high and disputed bills, fees and charges, responsibility for accounts
  • Credit: disconnection, arrears, difficulty in payment, payment arrangement declined, debt collection
  • Customer service: failure to respond, incorrect advice, poor attitude/service
  • Transfer: error in billing or transfer of account due to switching retailers, contract terms, delay in transfer, site ownership
  • Digital meter exchange: delay, meter not installed, incorrect advice, failure to respond/notify, billing, terms and conditions
  • General: non-energy/water related, contractors
  • Provision: problems with new or existing connections
  • Marketing: conduct by marketers, misleading information, pressure, non-account holder signed up
  • Land: impact of network assets, maintenance, environment
  • Supply: quality, damage/loss, outages

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Graph showing billing complaints from 2014 to 2020

Billing continued to be our biggest issue, present in 62% of all complaints. Billing issues include high or disputed accounts, estimated bills, opening and closing accounts and fees and charges.

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Customer service

A graph showing customer service issues from 2014 to 2020

Customer service issues fell significantly as a percentage of complaints, down 8% from 2018/2019 (from 39% to 31%). Customer service is often an underlying factor for customers contacting EWON, but for these complaints customer service was a driving factor.

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Graph showing credit complaints over time

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Complaint closure type

Graph showing complaint closure types from 2014 to 2020

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Time taken to finalise complaints

time taken to resolve complaints

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No wrong door

When a customer contacts us before they speak to their energy or water provider, we provide them with advice about their rights and responsibilities and refer them back to their provider. When customers require assistance that is outside of EWON's jurisdiction, we work closely with other organisations and refer customers to them as required.