Energy services like electricity and gas help us to live comfortably and get things done. In Australia, these services are delivered by a number of retailers and distributors, and regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
This page provides information on:
Who can help?
Energy is an essential service so there are a few different government agencies looking after the various aspects of your overall energy experience. Find out which one is looking after your concern below.
If you are experiencing power outages, contact your network supplier:
We can help you with:
- installation issues (including quality of workmanship)
- your consumer rights and protections under Australian Consumer Law.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON)
Ewon can help you with:
- connection or transfer issues
- the reliability and/or quality of the electricity or gas supply
- bill disputes (including disputed accounts, high bills and estimated bills)
- debts and arrears
- disconnection or restriction of supply
- actions of a supplier that affect your property
- complaints about your energy retailer, distribution network or third-party energy supplier
- negotiated contracts
- marketing practices
- poor customer service.
EWON’s service is free of charge and available to consumers and small business customers.
Energy NSW has information on:
- understanding your energy bill
- ways to save money on energy bills
- help for households facing energy bill stress
- energy efficiency
- rebates and discounts
- appliance replacement offers
- gas network operators.
For more information visit their website.
Your consumer rights
Australian Consumer Law guarantees your rights when you buy goods and services.
In fact, most products and services purchased after 1 January 2011 come with an automatic consumer guarantee that the product or service you purchased will work and do what you asked for. This includes electricity and gas supply.
When you engage a business to provide a service like electricity or gas supply, you have the right to expect ‘acceptable quality’. Services must be:
- provided with due care or skill (taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage)
- fit for any specified purpose (express or implied)
- provided in a reasonable time (when no time is set).
What is ‘reasonable’ will depend on the nature of the service, the difficulty of the task and other relevant factors.
Remedy when things go wrong
You are entitled to an appropriate remedy from the business when the product or service you purchased does not meet one or more of the consumer guarantees.
This might be a refund, a further service to rectify the problem and in some cases, reimbursement for damages and consequential loss.
The type of remedy will depend on whether the problem is:
If the problem is minor and can be fixed, the business can choose how to fix the problem. You cannot cancel and demand a refund immediately. Instead, you must give the business an opportunity to fix the problem. However, if repairs take too long, you can get someone else to fix the problem and ask the business to pay reasonable costs or cancel the service and get a refund.
If the problem is major or cannot be fixed, you can choose to:
- terminate the contract for services and request a full refund
- seek reimbursement for the difference between the value of the services provided compared to the price paid.
A problem is considered ‘major’ when it:
- would have stopped someone from purchasing the service had they known about it
- is substantially unfit for purpose and can’t be fixed in a reasonable timeframe
- creates an unsafe situation
- doesn't meet the specific purpose or achieve the specific result that the consumer requested.
Learn more about repairs, replacements and refunds.
Note: Energy problems related to home building and renovation will have different remedy options under the law. Learn more about building disputes.
Proof of purchase and documentation
You have the right to receive proof of purchase (like an invoice, cash register receipt, handwritten receipt or lay-by agreement). Suppliers must provide proof of purchase for goods and services worth $75 or more (excluding GST).
Energy services in Australia are supplied under a contract. A written copy of the contract (including its terms and conditions) must be supplied to you. Keep this for your records and in case you need to refer to the contract terms during a dispute. For more information, refer to our contracts page.
If the service has a warranty, it will give you some extra protection against faults. Warranties generally have terms and conditions attached - it’s your responsibility to be aware of these.