Table 10 – Complaints involving behind the meter products by service provider, July to September 2022 

Service provider

Complaints opened involving behind the meter products

Electricity > Network > Authorised


Electricity > Not Allocated


Electricity > Network > Exempt


Electricity > Retail > Authorised


Electricity > Retail > Exempt *




* Consumer Energy Resources within embedded networks or exempt sellers offering solar powered purchase arrangements (SPPA) 

Click here to view the top 10 core issues for closed complaints involving behind the meter technologies this quarter. 

The term Consumer Energy Resources (CER) refers to energy producing technologies that people use in their homes, such as solar PV, battery storage systems and electric vehicles. We received at least 481 complaints from customers that own or use CER technologies this quarter which represents approximately 14% of all electricity complaints. Customers that own and use CER systems made complaints about a range of issues this quarter, including: 

  • billing problems 
  • metering issues 
  • problems with the sale and performance of CER systems 
  • network issues 
  • transfer issues 

The complaints we receive from customers with CER systems are often about the conduct of the companies that have sold and installed the customer’s system. Complaints about energy retailers are also often related to actions taken by installers or promises that were made by solar retailers selling CER products. The complaint issues related to the conduct of retailers selling and installing CER systems include: 

  • problems with the connection and/or activation of CER systems installed on people’s homes 
  • the performance of CER systems not matching the promises made by solar retailers 
  • CER systems that are faulty or not working, including warranty claims and product recalls 
  • claims for damage done to the customer’s property during CER installations 
  • incomplete or non-compliant installations 
  • disputes over quotes for solar and battery systems and/or unexpected charges 
  • CER marketing and sales. 

The case studies below show how integrated the sale and installation of CER is with the services the customer receives from the retail energy market. EWON complaints show that customers are often purchasing CER systems directly from their energy retailers, which means that the sale and marketing of these products are closely tied to the retail energy offer made by the retailer. It is also often the case that a complaint made about an energy retailer may have originated with the conduct of a solar retailer, or relate to the installation of a CER system, and where the customer’s energy retailer is simply left to solve the problem. All these factors mean that it is increasingly difficult for EWON to separate out the CER complaint issues from the retail energy complaint issues. It is also increasingly likely that parts of a customer’s complaint will be within EWON’s jurisdiction and other parts of the complaint will sit outside of our jurisdiction and need to be referred to another complaints body. 

  Case Study: Landlord fails to arrange meter upgrade 

A customer leased a new home and opened an electricity account with his preferred energy retailer. His first electricity bill was $201, which he paid. The landlord then arranged the installation of a rooftop solar system at the property and the next bill he received was $1,800 based on an estimated reading. He complained to EWON that the number of people at the property had remained the same and their energy use had not changed. The customer had contacted the energy retailer about the bill, and was told that the bill must be paid.  

We referred the matter to the retailer for resolution at a higher level, which the customer accepted knowing he could return to us if he was unhappy with the outcome. The retailer later provided EWON with an update on the complaint outcome. The energy retailer investigated the issue with the distributor, real estate agent and solar retailer. It said that that the rooftop solar system was installed, connected and activated before the meter was upgraded and before the customer moved into the property. The non-compliant solar connection meant that the existing meter was spinning backwards and failed to correctly record the customer’s electricity usage and therefore the distributor provided an estimated meter reading to the energy retailer, with the high estimation due to no historical usage. The retailer advised that it could not waive the charges and referred the customer to dispute the matter with the real estate agent, solar installers and landlord. The retailer also offered the customer an extended timeframe to pay and a payment arrangement to help him pay of the bill. The retailer further stated that this explanation and outcome was rejected by the customer, however he did not return to EWON. 

  Case Study: Numerous issues after installing rooftop solar system 

A customer purchased a rooftop solar system directly from their energy retailer and accepted a retail energy offer at the same time. The energy retailer told him that it would arrange the solar installation, meter upgrade and transfer his energy account to the energy plan he agreed to. The energy retailer missed the first two appointments that were scheduled for the solar installation and finally installed the system two months after he accepted the offer. He was then advised that the rooftop system could not be activated until a digital meter was installed. The retailer noted that it could not install a new meter until the customer’s account had been transferred on the retail energy market.  

After a further delay in the transfer of his account, he contacted the retailer who referred him to his old retailer to find out why the account had not transferred. The customer’s old retailer advised that no transfer request had been received. The customer complained to his new retailer about the delayed transfer and meter exchange, and the missed opportunity to use the rooftop solar system. The retailer offered the customer a $100 customer service gesture but advised the customer that the energy offer he had accepted had now expired. The retailer offered the customer a new energy plan, but the customer complained that the delayed transfer has meant paying higher energy rates with his old retailer and he had missed the financial rewards he’d expected from the rooftop solar system. The customer complained to EWON that he had not received a response to his complaint. 

We referred the matter to the retailer for resolution at a higher level, which the customer accepted knowing he could return to us if he was unhappy with the outcome. 

  Case Study: Customer unhappy about feed-in tariff reduction after purchasing battery 

A customer purchased a battery storage system directly from his energy retailer. The customer advised EWON that during the sale of the system the retailer said he would qualify for a retail feed-in tariff of $0.17 per kWh. He believed the feed-in tariff offer would remain for the life of his account. The retailer had since notified the customer that his feed-in tariff would be reduced, and he considered that the retailer had broken its promise to him when he was sold the battery. 

We referred the matter to the retailer for resolution at a higher level, which the customer accepted knowing he could return to us if he was unhappy with the outcome. The retailer later provided EWON with an update on the complaint outcome. The retailer reviewed the customer’s original contract and the sales calls. The retailer advised that the initial offer was for a feed-in tariff of $0.17 per kWh for a period of 12 months. The retailer also noted that the sales call did not indicate that the customer was offered this feed-in tariff for an extended period. However, the retailer had been unable to contact the customer to provide this information. 

  Case Study: Solar performance doesn’t match expectations  

A customer purchased a rooftop solar system directly from her energy retailer. After some time, she noticed that the system did not appear to be working and the solar rewards were not appearing on her energy bills. The customer complained to the energy retailer who remotely reviewed her energy data and agreed with her that the output of her system was not correct. The retailer arranged for a subcontractor to visit the property and check the rooftop solar system. The subcontractor advised the customer that the system she was sold was not an appropriate fit for her home and was not located or configured correctly for the pattern of sunshine over her property. The customer complained to the retailer about the subcontractor’s assessment of the system. She also asked the retailer to provide her with records that show the level of output she was promised when she purchased the system. The customer advised EWON that she paid $21,000 for the system and was advised that she would no longer have to pay energy bills. The customer complained to EWON that the retailer has not responded to her complaint. 

We referred the matter to the retailer for resolution at a higher level, which the customer accepted knowing she could return to us if she was unhappy with the outcome. 

The customer returned to EWON as she did not receive any further contact from the retailer. EWON contacted the retailer and it advised that the underperformance of the system was due to shading on some of the panels from trees on a neighbouring property that had grown since the installation. The retailer confirmed that when one or more panels are shaded this will affect the output of the ‘string’ of panels connected. The retailer suggested several options, including: 

  • fitting optimising devices to all 22 solar panels on the property 
  • relocating or reconfiguring the 4 panels affected by shading to optimise the sun pattern 
  • engaging an arborist to trim the trees shading the roof. 

The retailer also advised that the solar specialist that quoted for the system would not have guaranteed the potential energy savings from the system. EWON spoke to the customer again about the retailer’s response. She accepted the retailer’s advice and told EWON that she would consider these options. EWON provided the customer with a referral to NSW Fair Trading if she decided to make a complaint that the system installed by the retailer was not fit for purpose.