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EWONews Issue 41

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A message from the Ombudsman

EWON turned 21 this month! As we prepared to celebrate this very significant milestone, I looked back at all we have achieved.

The Energy Industry Ombudsman NSW (EION) was officially launched by the [then] Minister for Energy, the Hon Bob Debus, on 9 June 1998. That financial year EWON’s five staff handled 180 complaints from seven members.

When Sydney Water joined the scheme in 1999, EION became EWON. Today, we have 90 staff and will receive around 26,500 complaints this financial year. Our current membership of 78 is expected to reach 350 over the next two years, owing to the expansion of EWON’s jurisdiction to include exempt entities operating embedded energy networks.

Our 2018/2019 Annual Report to be released in October will celebrate EWON’s key achievements over 21 years in detail. Keep an eye out for it.

Deputy Ombudsman announced

Not only has there been significant change over the last two decades, the pace of change has increased substantially. Since June 2018 we’ve seen an unprecedented number of new rules implemented to better protect energy consumers. This is being driven by intense scrutiny of the sector by politicians, regulators, the media, and importantly by technological developments.

The pace of change has put increasing pressure on EWON to contribute to policy debate and engage with stakeholders, often at a high level. To address this need, the role of Deputy Ombudsman, previously filled between 2004 and 2007, has been reinstated. I am very proud to announce that Helen Ford (formerly GM Governance, Awareness and Policy), is now
Deputy Ombudsman. Many of you will have met Helen and know what an asset she is to EWON. I am very confident that as Deputy Ombudsman, Helen will be instrumental in guiding EWON through these challenging times.

Welcome to new members

We now have 12 approved exempt entity members and another 67 memberships in progress. The 12 members operate 20 sites and represent 1,600 customers. When the additional applications are finalised another 34,800 customers will have access to the same level of consumer protections that customers of authorised retailers have.

There is still a lot of work to do to bring all exempt entities into our membership, but we are well placed to achieve it.

Janine Young
Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW