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It gives me great pleasure to present the 2014-15 Annual Report of the Western Australian Energy and Water Ombudsman.
The primary function of the Energy and Water Ombudsman is to investigate and resolve complaints about energy and water services in Western Australia. In 2014-15, we received 2,182 complaints, 17% less than last year, comprised of 1,616 electricity complaints, 277 gas complaints and 289 water complaints. Billing and credit continue to be the main issues raised in both electricity and gas complaints and billing is the main issue raised in water complaints.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman is a key access to justice mechanism for Western Australian electricity, gas and water consumers. As such, it is critical that we resolve complaints in a timely way. This year, we closed 84% of complaints within 10 business days. The timely resolution of complaints is facilitated by the cooperative approach of member companies for which I record my appreciation.
It is also critical that we provide high quality and cost effective resolution and that we are as accessible as possible to all Western Australian electricity, gas and water consumers. As a key component of achieving this, we have continued to liaise with key stakeholders including electricity, gas and water providers, the Economic Regulation Authority, other regulators and other Energy and Water Ombudsmen. We have also undertaken a range of activities to ensure access to our services for members of the public, including those living and working in regional Western Australia and Aboriginal Western Australians through our Regional Awareness and Accessibility Program. This year the Program conducted regional visits to Kalgoorlie‑Boulder and Northam.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Board of the Energy and Water Ombudsman. I record my particular thanks to Mr Paul Wilmot, inaugural Chairperson of the Energy and Water Ombudsman, who retired in August 2015, for his outstanding leadership of the governance of the Energy and Water Ombudsman over the past 11 years. I also warmly welcome Mr Menno Henneveld as Chairperson – Menno brings enourmous expertise and experience to his new role which will be of great benefit to the Board and the work of the Energy and Water Ombudsman.
The work of the Energy and Water Ombudsman is the result of the efforts of a highly skilled and dedicated staff team, including Deputy Energy and Water Ombudsman, Mary White and Director, Energy and Water, Marcus Claridge.
I take this opportunity to thank each staff member for their contribution to ensuring high quality, cost effective and timely access to justice for Western Australian electricity, gas and water consumers.
ENERGY AND WATER OMBUDSMAN
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