Deputy Ombudsman message


Unsurprisingly, given the increased cost of living combined with energy price rises, complaints to EWON have increased by 26% compared with the same quarter last year, while complaints about price increases have risen by 60%. 

The June 2023 Energy Consumers Australia Sentiment Survey found that concerns about energy affordability are front of mind for most Australians, with 52% of households more concerned about paying their electricity bills than they were a year ago. 

At EWON, we’re focused on reminding customers that there is support available and how to access it. Rebates, EAPA vouchers, switching providers for a better deal and provider affordability programs are all tools in the kit available for customers needing support. We also encourage eligible customers to access the government National Energy Bill Relief package to receive a one-off payment of $500 for households or $650 for small businesses towards electricity bills.  

Finally, back in 2020 we announced that we were the first energy Ombudsman scheme to successfully change a national energy rule, making it easier for customers reliant on life-support equipment to switch energy providers to get a better deal. Recently  Carolyn Campbell-McLean from Muscular Dystrophy NSW generously welcomed us into her home to share her story of how she has benefitted from the rule change. Watch the video.  

If you work with clients who have been impacted by rising energy prices, please encourage them to come to us for assistance, especially with billing and credit related issues. 
Helen Ford
Deputy Ombudsman
Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW 


Complaint update

Graphic showing 4473 complaints received

In the April to June quarter, EWON received 4,443 complaints, up 26% compared to the same quarter last year. Again, most complaints were about electricity (3,553), with 685 complaints gas and 193 regarding water. Billing was the biggest issue with 2,961 complaints, followed by 456 credit complaints and 204 about digital meter exchange.  

View more complaint data


Managing increased energy prices 

Vouchers, payments, rebates… help your clients access the support they need to manage the price rises.  

We know the July 2023 price increase is placing extra pressure on consumers who are already facing stress from the higher cost of living.  But there are ways consumers can stay on top of their bills, avoid mounting debt and potentially disconnection.

If you’ve contacted your retailer but aren’t happy with the result, call us. We’re here to help.


Ensuring customers know to contact us

Many customers who need us, don’t know about us. We’re working to change that.

The AER’s revised Better Bills Guideline commence in October and will help raise awareness of external dispute resolution services by ensuring that the contact details of ombudsman schemes are visible on the front page of energy bills.

We believe all market participants, including EWON members should actively promote both internal and external dispute resolution (IDR and EDR) to build trust and confidence in the sector, empower customers to resolve issues and demonstrate a commitment to consumer protections.

Deputy Ombudsman, Helen Ford, recently presented to the Energy Charter and the Australian Energy Council Retail Group about a joint project with our energy and water ombudsman peers to improve the promotion of IDR and EDR. We have also developed resources to assist members in promoting EWON to their customers, including:

We hope these initiatives will help customers resolve issues directly with their provider or seek our help if they are unable to. 

Find out more, Promoting dispute resolution - Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW ( 


Supporting First Nations Australians

We support Australia’s First Nations peoples in their call for a constitutionally enshrined Voice.

EWON accepts the invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk with our First Nation’s peoples to ensure a better future for all Australians. We see the Statement as a generous invitation arrived at through the extensive Dialogues process, allowing us to unite in a genuine process of reconciliation. This is a natural continuation of our Reconciliation Action Plan and aligns with EWON’s values, especially respect, social justice and integrity. View our full statement of support here.


Knock to stay connected

Some customers are now protected by an extra layer of support to keep them connected to essential services. Knock to Stay Connected is a national initiative to encourage providers to take further steps to engage customers before they are disconnected for non-payment.  

The Energy Charter initiative encourages retailers and networks to sign up voluntarily to knock on customers’ door and have a conversation with them about what assistance is available, so they don’t get disconnected. If the customer doesn’t answer, the information is left under the door or in a letter box. 

Find out more about the Knock to Stay Connected Customer Code.  


Community Assist Days

What do Forbes and Redfern have in common? We hosted Community Assist Days there in July!  

We travelled to Forbes, a rural town hit hard by flooding, for our first Community Assist Day of 2023/2024. Feedback from the day was overwhelmingly positive, with 100% of attendees saying they received the help they needed. Check out this video from WIN News of us in action on the day.  

In Redfern, we were delighted to see over 100 service providers and consumers working together to resolve issues, in an area experiencing heightened cost of living pressures. In a first for EWON, Ozharvest was on hand to provide hot meals to attendees. The event also provided a great opportunity to develop relationships and networks for future collaboration in the Inner West community. Watch this video produced by Origin Energy who were there on the day assisting their customers. We look forward to visiting both areas again, as well as expanding our Community Assist Days to more locations in Western Sydney and Coffs Harbour. If you work in these areas and are keen to get involved, contact the team at


Case study: Poor service in response to billing complaint

Sara thought her $800 bill was high, so she took a photo of her meter to get the bill adjusted. Then it increased to over $3,000!  

Find out what happened next


Upcoming events

We’re looking forward to seeing customers and stakeholders at several upcoming events, including:

Visit our events page for more information.



Our Policy & Systemic Issues team produced 19 submissions last financial year!  

Submissions are an important way for EWON to influence policy development or change. We identify customer issues through our complaints management and community engagement activities and use this information inform our approach.  

In 2022-23, we made submissions relating to consumer issues like protecting customers affected by family violence and the industry funding model for financial counselling. We also commented on a diverse range of topics including industry related issues like embedded networks, electric vehicle charging and water regulation. 

View all our submissions here. Submissions - Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW (


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