Embedded network complaints and case studies

This quarter EWON opened 97 complaints from embedded network customers. 

Table 7 – Embedded network customer complaints by service provider, July to September 2022 

Service provider

Complaints by embedded network customers

Electricity > Network > Authorised


Electricity > Network > Exempt


Electricity > Not Allocated


Electricity > Retail > Authorised


Electricity > Retail > Exempt


Gas > Retail > Authorised


Non energy / Non water > Not Allocated


Water > Retail > WICA




This quarter EWON closed 60 complaints from customers whose electricity or gas (including hot water) is supplied through an embedded network. 

Click here to view the top 10 core issues for embedded network complaints closed this quarter. 

Click here to view the top 10 issues for embedded network complaints closed this quarter.

EWON’s Policy and Systemic Issues team contributed their expertise to various embedded network forums this quarter, including: 

  • presenting a detailed factual overview of embedded networks to the NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Law and Safety 
  • making a written submission to the NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Law and Safety inquiry into embedded networks 
  • contributing to a review of proposed amendments to the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 
  • attending an AER risk assessment workshop about its review of the retailer authorisation and exemption framework 
  • meeting with Utility Disputes New Zealand to discuss embedded network issues. 

This work is based on EWON complaints information from customers living in embedded networks. These case studies demonstrate several common areas of concern for all customers, not just customers in embedded networks, including: 

  • rebates 
  • disconnection of supply 
  • billing errors 
  • meter accuracy 
  • backbills 
  • customer service. 

  Case Study: Customer missed out on rebate 

A customer moved into a townhouse in July 2021 which was part of an embedded network for electricity. She understood that due to living in an embedded network she would need to apply to have the NSW Government Low Income Household Rebate deposited into a nominated bank account, rather than having it applied to her bills. She submitted the form in September 2021. In July 2022, she noticed that she had not received the rebate. She found out that the previous owner had submitted a form for the rebate on 13 July 2021 and received the rebate for the 2021-22 financial year. The customer purchased the property on 14 July 2021 and considered she should be entitled to the rebate as she had lived there for the majority of the financial year. EWON advised that the exempt seller may be limited in the assistance it could provide as Service NSW is responsible for administering the rebate for embedded networks and complying with NSW Government rules. The customer advised that she would seek further assistance from Service NSW in the first instance. 

  Case Study: No supply to customer's gas cooktop 

A customer moved into a new apartment in July 2022 which was part of an embedded network for electricity and gas. The apartment had a gas cooktop but there was no gas supply when she moved in. She tried to resolve this with the exempt seller but it referred her to speak to her building manager or strata as it had no record of disconnecting the gas supply. The strata was also unable to assist her, so she contacted EWON for assistance. 

EWON discussed the matter with the exempt seller. After further investigation, the exempt seller found that a building developer had turned off the gas supply without the exempt seller being aware. Once this was identified, the exempt seller arranged for the developer to turn the gas supply back on. The customer considered the complaint to be resolved on this basis. 

  Case Study: Smart meter customer receives backbill with higher charges 

A customer lived in an apartment block which was part of an embedded network for electricity, operated by an authorised retailer. He received a bill in August 2022 with revised charges for the previous six months. The revised charges resulted in an additional $330 owing on top of what he had already paid. The cover letter advised that the usage had not been calculated correctly on previous bills. The customer could not understand how the previous charges could be incorrect as the apartments all had smart meters and the previous bills had been based on actual meter data, not estimates. He contacted the retailer to query the bill and find out whether there had been a meter fault. He considered the retailer’s follow-up to be poor as he had to keep contacting it to try and find out answers to his questions. The retailer advised that there had been an error but did not give any further explanation, and focused on asking him about his appliances and usage habits. The retailer gave him a 30-day payment extension but did not resolve his concerns about the accuracy of the bill and any potential meter issues. 

EWON provided the customer with information about backbilling provisions for a customer living in an embedded network operated by an authorised retailer. We referred the matter to the authorised retailer for resolution at a higher level, which the customer accepted knowing he could return to us if he was unhappy with the outcome.