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Energy and Water Ombudsman (Prescribed Energy Entities)

Amendment Regulation 2021 (Queensland)

On 28 February 2022, the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Prescribed Energy Entities) Amendment Regulation 2021 came into effect. The amendments insert two new sections into the Energy and Water Act 2006 (Queensland). The changes affect any individual or company that run an embedded network in Queensland and are an ‘exempt seller’.

The Effect of the New Provisions For Bodies Corporate and Strata Managers (and Billing Agents and Embedded Network Managers):

If you’re an exempt seller with 2,000 or fewer customers, you’re automatically deemed an Energy and Water Ombudsman of Queensland (EWOQ) scheme participant at no cost. If you’re an exempt seller with more than 2,000 customers, you’re required to join the scheme and pay a membership fee.

If you are a body corporate and your body corporate is legally named as the exempt seller, it must become a member of EWOQ, even if you have a billing agent, strata manager or embedded network manager acting on your behalf.

However, membership can be managed administratively by your billing agent, embedded network manager or strata manager. This includes applying for membership and managing complaints on your behalf. You will need to provide EWOQ with a completed Exempt Seller Authority to Act form signed by both the body corporate and the billing agent (or embedded network manager or strata manager) to do this. A copy of the form can be found here.

A customer who has an issue with their electricity is to contact their embedded network operator. If the issue isn’t fixed or the customer is unhappy with the outcome, they can contact the EWOQ in relation to

  • high bills and disputed accounts;
  • credit issues, including default listings;
  • access to payment plans, rebates and concessions;
  • disconnection of supply;
  • connection issues;
  • poor customer service;
  • body corporate decisions about your embedded network.

What is the Cost and When do we Have to Pay?

As stated above, an entity with less than 2,000 customers is ‘deemed’ a scheme participant at no cost to the entity. An entity with more than 2,000 customers will be required to participate in the scheme. The cost for such an entity is $5,000 or $10,000 if the entity has more than 1 retailer licence. The participation fee will be issued by EWOQ by way of invoice and payment is due and payable within 14 days of the entity receiving the invoice.

This article was contributed by Compliance Quarter and ARC Utilities.

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