Water complaints and case studies

Water complaints make up approximately 4% of the complaints that EWON receive and contain a wide range of issues.

Table 5 —Water issues October to December 2021 including the previous four quarters

Primary and secondary issue Oct-Dec 2021 Jul- Sep 2021 Apr-Jun 2021 Jan-Mar 2021 Oct-Dec 2020
Billing > high 37 44 41 34 27
Customer service > poor service 32 19 25 21 17
General > energy / water 18 29 27 26 37
Billing > other 17 18 4 6 2
Customer service > failure to respond 16 15 18 26 18

Table 6 — Water complaint breakdown October to December 2021

Complaint type Number of complaints Total %
General enquiry 2 1.2%
Complaint enquiry 103 59.9%
Refer to higher level 50 29.1%
Investigated 17 9.9%
Total 172 100%

General water case studies

Sometimes the best way for EWON to resolve a complaint is to educate the customer and facilitate productive discussions with the provider. Customers can be more willing to engage with the provider once they have a clearer understanding of what is expected of them and a better idea of reasonable timeframes to allow for the provider’s investigation. 

Case Study: Understanding adjusted billing and concealed leak6 processes 

A business customer received a water bill of over $10,000 for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, when his usual water bills were about $3,000 per quarter. He noted that a leak in a pipe in a wall at the property had been repaired in early to mid-2021. He contacted his water provider and was offered a payment plan but no reduction in the bill. EWON provided general information and referred the complaint back to the provider at a higher level in the first instance. The customer returned to EWON and advised that the provider reduced the bill by about $2,000, which he did not consider a reasonable resolution as the bill was still significantly higher than his normal bills.

The provider advised EWON it had been unable to access the meter at the property since 2019. The provider was able to obtain a customer meter read in May 2021, which resulted in the high disputed catchup bill using the customer read as a reference point. Following EWON’s referral at a higher level the provider rebilled the account based on a customer meter photo taken on 30 September 2021, which adjusted the account balance to $7,500. This amount covered a six-month period from April to September rather than one quarter, so was more in line with what the customer considered to be a reasonable amount. The provider had also requested that the customer apply for assessment under its concealed leak policy, but the customer’s application form was incomplete. When he returned to EWON, the customer had not yet responded to the provider’s request for a complete form.

EWON discussed the meter access, billing and concealed leak issues with the customer. The customer acknowledged that there had been access issues related to a tenant in the property. With a clearer understanding of the situation and what was required of him, the customer was happy to liaise directly with the provider to provide a completed concealed leak assessment form and discuss payment options. The customer did not return to EWON for further assistance. 

Case Study: Relocating a sewer vent

A site next door to a customer’s house was under development. The developer had built a sewer vent right outside the customer’s bedroom window. She considered it an eyesore and a danger to her health and other nearby residents. She raised a complaint with the water provider, who agreed that the sewer vent was an issue but did not provide any solutions. EWON provided general information and referred the complaint back to the provider at a higher level in the first instance. The customer returned to advise that the complaint had not been resolved. The provider contacted her following the referral and advised her that it was working with the developer to review what options may be available, but that contact had started to drop off.

The water provider advised EWON that it had been in consistent contact with the customer and the developer, but that processes around asset location can be complex and take time due to engineering and safety requirements. The provider confirmed that the vent was its asset, and the developer had arranged for a contractor accredited by the water provider to temporarily relocate it to the disputed position as part of the development process. The provider was working with the developer to revise the design to ensure the permanent vent would be closer to the new building and the street, where it was originally located. The new design would also be sent to the customer. Once approved, the developer would engage the accredited contractor to complete the work.

EWON discussed this information with the customer. As she now had a better understanding of the overall process and felt assured that the water provider was progressing the matter, she was happy to deal with them directly. She felt that EWON had helped to improve the communication between the water provider and the community impacted by the development. The customer did not return to EWON for further assistance.


See EWON-Factsheet-Water-leaks.pdf for more information