Our complaints process

In handling complaints, the Energy and Water Ombudsman considers what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances, taking into account the relevant law, licences, industry codes and good industry practice.

We are an impartial body and do not act for either party. Our processes are informal and as timely as possible.

Stages in our complaint process

Stage 1: If you have not complained to your provider

As outlined on our How to make a complaint page, the first thing we do when we receive your complaint is check that you have contacted your provider and attempted to resolve your complaint yourself.

If you have not yet complained to your provider about the issue, we will provide you with their contact details.

Stage 2: If you have complained to your provider, we contact them

If you have already contacted your provider, we will refer your complaint to a designated contact officer at your provider to give them the opportunity to resolve your complaint.

Under our Charter we are required to give the provider 10 business days to resolve the complaint with you before we investigate further. We will inform you of the date you can bring your complaint back to us if you remain dissatisfied. 

Stage 3: We look at your complaint and try to facilitate a resolution

If your complaint is not resolved within 10 business days, you can contact us again, and we will determine what further action is necessary. 

We will contact your provider to see if we can facilitate a resolution to your complaint without needing to investigate it.

After attempting to facilitate a resolution, we may decide that further investigation is warranted and we will advise you that we will be investigating your complaint.

Stage 4: We investigate your complaint

If your complaint is investigated, we contact the electricity, gas or water provider to get more information about your concerns. We may also contact you for more information.

We consider all the relevant information and make sure you have had an opportunity to tell us your side of the story. If we need to seek independent technical advice we will do so.

During the investigation, we look for opportunities to resolve your complaint by agreement between you and the electricity, gas or water provider. If you agree to a resolution, we will stop our investigation and close your complaint.

We may decide that the electricity, gas or water provider has acted fairly and reasonably and that your complaint is not substantiated. If so, we will advise you in writing that we will take no further action with your complaint.

If we find your complaint is substantiated but your provider does not resolve the complaint with you, the Energy and Water Ombudsman has the power to make a decision that is binding on the provider. 


Our services are free. There will be no cost to you for making a complaint.

How long will it take?

We always do our best to investigate and resolve complaints in a timely manner, however, sometimes more complex matters take some time for us to consider all the information provided by you and the electricity, gas or water provider.

We will contact you by phone or email during the investigation when there are developments in your case, and if your complaint takes longer than usual, we will keep in contact with you to inform you about the progress of our investigation.

You can also contact the case officer handling your investigation to enquire about its progress.

What happens at the end of an investigation?

If at the end of an investigation there is no agreed resolution, we will either:

  • Determine that your complaint is not substantiated and take no further action.
  • Make a binding decision on action to be taken to resolve the issue.

You will be informed of the outcome in writing. You will be able to either accept or reject the binding decision, however, it will be binding on the electricity, gas or water provider if you accept it.

The Energy and Water Ombudsman has the authority to make binding decisions up to a value of $20,000 or up to $50,000 with the agreement of the electricity, gas or water provider.

Need more information?

Information about our complaints process is available for download and printing on our information sheets page.

Information Sheets page

Requesting a review of the handling of your complaint

If you are unhappy with the way that your complaint was handled, we encourage you to discuss the issue with your case officer first. They will discuss your concerns and explain the reasons for their decision.

If you still feel that further action is needed, you can request a review.

For more information, go to our reviews of complaints page