Complaints about electricity bills rose by 15 per cent in the Central West in the past year.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW annual report has revealed electricity is by far the biggest utility service complained about by people living in the Central West, including Orange.
Electricity accounted for 80 per cent of EWON’s complaints for 2017-18.
Gas complaints fell by 25 per cent and water complaints fell by 17 per cent over the 12 months.
More work is needed to address affordability, including identification of customers needing support and tailored approaches which prevent payment difficulties escalating into serious debt.Ombudsman Janine Young
Ombudsman Janine Young said there were 47 complaints per 10,000 people in the Central West, up four per cent on the previous year.
She said it was the third highest number of complaints across NSW.
Ms Young said billing issues included high and estimated bills, billing errors and problems with opening and closing accounts.
The report also showed there was a 10 per cent increase in complaints regarding customer service.
Ms Young said they included complaints about poor service, failure to respond, incorrect advice or information and failure to consult or inform customers.
About half of the complaints from Central West customers were about poor customer service.
“Customer service is often an underlying factor for people contacting EWON, but one that can be largely avoided if providers work constructively with consumers in the first instance,” she said.
Ms Young said complaints about the price of power rose by nine per cent.
“More work is needed to address affordability, including identification of customers needing support and tailored approaches which prevent payment difficulties escalating into serious debt,” she said.
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