How to complain to your energy provider

In an ideal world, it’s possible that you and your energy provider have a great relationship and you never need to register a complaint. But, just in case there is trouble in paradise, it’s a good idea to know how to complain to your energy retailer.

Some examples of the kind of problems you can have with a provider are:

  • You think your energy bill was not calculated correctly
  • There’s been a disruption to your electricity or gas supply
  • You’ve been charged fees for things you didn’t authorise or know about
  • Contract cancellation or alteration requests were not actioned
  • Your energy supply was cut off without prior notice
  • The customer service agent was rude or pushy

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you file a complaint and follow through the whole process till your concerns are addressed.

Explain your problem

As soon as you realise that there is something that you are not happy about with your energy account or service, you should reach out to your provider and let them know of the exact situation. It is possible that they will resolve your problem once it is brought to their notice and you won’t need to register a formal complaint. You will find the relevant contact details on the company’s website or on your gas or electricity bill.

The customer service agent will most likely need to verify your account details to proceed further, so make sure you have your account number or other information handy. In general, it is useful to have as much information as possible to support your claim. For instance, you might want to keep a copy of your contract which outlines the terms and tariffs for your plan.

If you feel that the customer care consultant cannot satisfactorily address your problem, ask to speak with a senior officer or manager and explain them your situation.

Make a note of your conversation

After you have expressed your concerns to the retailer, you should make a note of the time and date of your conversation so you can refer back to it when required. Also record the name of the person you interacted with and if they gave you a complaint reference number.

If they are unable to address your grievance immediately, give them a reasonable timeframe within which you expect them to get back to you. Let them know that you will follow up this conversation with a formal written complaint. You can send this by email or via post. Whatever you do, remember to keep copies of your interactions for yourself.

Ideally, once you have sent in a written complaint, the company’s customer service team should reach out to you for finding an appropriate resolution.

Still not satisfied?

If you energy provider is still unable to resolve your complaint, you can contact the energy ombudsman, which is an external dispute resolution scheme. You can use this as a free alternative to formal legal processes. Lodge a complaint with the ombudsman and let them address the problem between you and the energy provider. Read more about how to register a complaint and the following procedure.

When energy bills continue to cause problems

If your main concern with your provider is based on the tariffs or payment options, you can consider some of these solutions to resolve your problem:

Bill smoothing. Sometimes energy costs piling up over an entire quarter can lead to a nasty bill shock. If you feel that you could be better off with fortnightly or monthly instalments, you can check with your retailer if they can provide you the option for bill smoothing. Do remember however, that this could involve ‘estimated’ bill costs so you need to keep a check in case there is a gap between the actual and the predicted spending.

Concessions and rebates. The government offers multiple concessions and rebates for customers with special conditions, such as a vulnerable financial or medical conditions. Every state has different eligibility criteria for accessing these schemes so you can get in touch with your provider to understand your options.

Hardship policies. Most energy providers understand that sometimes customers facing a challenging personal situation can find it difficult to pay their energy bills on time. That’s why retailers have hardship policies, which support consumers who need help with their bill payments. The terms and conditions for this can vary for different providers so you need to check the exact specifications with your provider.

Switch and save. If you think your provider is overcharging for your energy service, you can consider switching your supplier or energy plan. Use Mozo’s free energy comparison tool to find out if you could be saving money by switching to another energy plan based on your household’s usage habits and preferences.

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