Energy & Water

Authorising Law: Part 12 of the Utilities Act 2000

Types of applications ACAT can consider

The ACAT has jurisdiction to consider applications relating to complaints about the supply of energy and water by the utilities that are licensed to operate in the ACT. In this area of its work the ACAT has the responsibilities of the Energy Ombudsman for the ACT. Two types of complaints can be considered: complaints about hardship caused or likely to be caused by the electricity, gas or water supply being disconnected and complaints about misconduct or poor service by a utility. These last complaints could be about the customer contract, billing systems, network operations, marketing behaviour, etc. Within ACAT we refer to these as firstly, hardship assistance applications and secondly, non-hardship complaints. More information about them is set out below.

The main utilities licensed to operate in the ACT are:

  • ACTEWAGL Retail - retail electricity and gas.
  • ACTEWAGL Distribution - electricty and gas networks.
  • ACTEW Corporation - water
  • Energy Australia - retail electricity and gas.
  • TRUenergy - retail electricity and gas.

The current list of licensed utilities can be found on the ICRC website, and links to those licences are given here.  Please note that these links take you to another website, and ACAT is not responsible for the content of that site

Hardship Applications

If you are having trouble paying your electricity, gas or water account, the first thing you should do is talk to the utility company about a payment plan or about other available options such as participation in their hardship program. If you can not reach a realistic agreement with your utility, the ACAT may be able to assist you to avoid disconnection.

You can start an ACAT hardship assistance application by ringing 6207 7740 and talking to staff. Staff will help you complete an application. ACAT staff may also order the utility not to disconnect your supply until your application has been looked at. ACAT members will meet with you to discuss options for continuing your supply and making appropriate payments. If you are already disconnected from supply, ACAT may order the utility to reconnect supply within 24 hours.

For further brief information about hardship assistance applications, download a pamphlet about Hardship Assistance here.

For more detailed information about hardship assistance applications and about Tribunal procedures telephone the ACAT office.

Non-Hardship Complaints About Utilities

Any complaint you have should first be raised with your utility company. They are required to have a customer complaint procedure and to take your complaint seriously. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can make a complaint about the utility company to ACAT. ACAT will independently investigate your complaint and seek to resolve it by discussion with the utility at a senior officer level.

Utilities operating in the ACT are required to comply with the Utilities Act, associated Codes and customer contracts. Some examples of complaints against utilities are:

  • Failure by a utility to comply with its legal obligations in relation to billing, account payment, disconnecting supply, etc.
  • Failure to manage network operations appropriately, such as failing to make good any damage to your property, faulty meter readings, failure to give notice of planned outages and unauthorised entry to your property.
  • Problems arising from changing your electricity or gas supplier such as misleading marketing behaviour, billing problems, interruption to supply.
  • Charging an excessive capital contribution for connection to supply.
  • Failure to protect your personal information.
  • Disputes about the feed-in tariff.

Again. a non-hardship complaint can be made by first telephoning ACAT on 6207 7740 and speaking to staff who deal with energy and water matters.

Note that the ACAT cannot consider complaints against telecommunications utilities such as Telstra, Optus or Transact. These complaints should be directed to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on 1800 062 058.