Welcome to our first EWON Insights for 2021. EWON has had a positive start to the year with the completion of our first outreach trip to North West NSW since COVID-19 prevented us travelling 10 months ago. 

We took an innovative approach to ensuring outreach continued during the pandemic by delivering our signature Bring Your Bills Days online in partnership with Hunter Water, but it was rewarding to see our Outreach Team finally get back out on the road this month. Our new partnership with the Service NSW Mobile Bus took us to Tabulam, Deepwater, Drake and Ashford to assist customers in a region particularly hard hit by bushfires, drought and floods. Keeping EWON, member and partner organisation staff safe at external events is our top priority and our COVID-safe plan ensures we manage any potential risks. 

Member Engagement Survey

I’d like to thank our members who took part in the 2020 Member Engagement Survey. We had a good response rate and feedback was consistent with the Independent Review outcomes and actions included in our 2020/2021 business plan. Significant improvements compared with the 2016 survey included, EWON’s overall effectiveness as an external dispute resolution scheme (up 10% from 59% to 69%) and overall effectiveness of working with members (up 8% from 57% to 65%). Full survey results are available on EWONLink.

Complaints to EWON this quarter

An annual seasonal trend, as well as the Australian Energy Regulator’s Statement of Expectations (SoE) requirements have resulted in a slight drop in complaints. EWON Insights focus this quarter is on the ‘core’ issue of a customer’s complaint, i.e., what initially went wrong for the customer. This approach will help us, and our members, accurately understand the key problems affecting customers and the actions required to reduce future complaints.

We also look at complaints about credit, transfers to new retailers without customer consent, and complaints arising from a lack of consumer protections associated with bulk hot water. We also outline our internal review process, including how our Quality Team drives continuous improvement in our complaint-handling procedures.

Maximising efficiency and effectiveness – a joint approach

Often, EWON, EWOV, EWOSA and EWOQ, as members of the Australian and New Zealand Energy and Water Ombudsman Network, capture our shared experiences in joint submissions to regulatory bodies and government agencies. Our recent joint submissions were in response to AEMC’s rule change on bill contents and to the Energy Security Board’s consultation on data strategy

Feedback about our quarterly Insights Reports is always welcome. Please contact our Manager Policy & Research Rory Campbell.

Janine Young
Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW

Photo of Janine Young, Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW