When a customer needs to contact their energy supplier about a problem, there are some steps that will help them to resolve the issue faster and more effectively.
Knowing the rights and responsibilities that apply to customers and suppliers in the relevant situation can be useful in negotiating with a supplier. Information about consumer protections in Queensland are set out in the Queensland Electricity Industry Code and Queensland Gas Industry Code.
If contacting a retailer about payment difficulties, before making the call work out what amount can be paid immediately, what is an affordable instalment amount and frequency, whether to include payments towards future bills in the payment plan, and what is the most suitable payment method.
If speaking to front line call centre staff does not result in a satisfactory outcome, you or your client has the right to ask for a supervisor or senior customer service representative. Some retailers may also have dedicated hardship teams who may be better placed to assist.
If your client is not confident about negotiating with their supplier themselves, you or another person can speak to the supplier on their behalf. They will need to be present to identify themselves as the account holder and give permission for the supplier to discuss account details with the person acting on their behalf.
Customers who encounter difficulties dealing with an energy company, or are unable to resolve a dispute, can lodge a complaint with the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland. For more information, call 1800 662 837 or visit the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland website.
There are some issues the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland cannot investigate, such as bulk hot water problems or disputes with an on-seller. Visit the Energy and Water Complaints website to find out which agency is responsible for handling a complaint.
QCOSS has released a number of factsheets on essential services, including tips for customers in dealing with electricity retailers. You can print these factsheets to hand out to clients.