Energy Ombudsman to take complaints in Macksville

Electricity bills have risen by 70 percent per kilowatt/hour since 2016.

THE Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) will host a free event for energy and water customers at the Macksville Senior Citizens Centre on April 9 between 11am and 4pm.

Customers are encouraged to bring their current and past energy and water bills, letters from retailers, Centrelink Health cards and other concession cards, for advice, support and information with energy and water billings.

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However, this will be cold comfort to many customers whose electricity and or water charges have simply increased beyond expectations in the past few years.

The cost of the unit price of electricity has increased by 22 percent over the past twelve months and 70 percent over the past eight years, according to Origin bills seen by NOTA.

During this same period (the past twelve months) inflation was recorded at around five percent and for the past eight years, only 30 percent.

In real terms this means that a much larger proportion of average incomes is required to pay the same electricity bill, even if the supplied amount remained the same over these periods.

That’s not to say that daily supply charges have remained the same either.

In 2016 it cost $1.26 per day to be connected to the electricity grid and today Origin charges the same customer $1.62 per day – figures which exactly correlate to inflation rates.

According to EWON, in 2022/23 there was an eighteen percent increase in complaints from Mid North Coast customers.

On average, 65 percent of all complaints to EWON from customers in the region were about billing, including high or estimated bills or problems with rebates or concessions.

The ombudsman says the Macksville event is intended to be a “one-stop-shop” where EWON will be joined by energy retailers as well as a range of community and government agencies who can provide direct assistance to customers with their energy bills.

Similar events are planned for Coffs Harbour on 10 April and Grafton on 11 April 2024.

EWON is a not-for-profit company which receives its funding from energy and water providers who are required by law to be its members.

When energy and water retailers do not provide satisfactory resolutions to complaints from customers, the Ombudsman can become involved to help the customer reach a fair outcome.

In cases where the Ombudsman needs to intervene in disputes, the retailer is charged a fee to encourage them to improve their internal complaint-handling processes.


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