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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Power price hikes trigger spike in ombudsman complaints

About two in three complaints lodged with the energy and water ombudsman were related to billing with cost of living and energy price hikes behind the rise.

A residential power bill is seen at a home in Adelaide, Friday, May 7. Image AAP

Energy consumers across NSW are increasingly seeking support from the ombudsman to pay their bills amid price hikes and cost of living pressures.

Complaints lodged with the state Energy and Water Ombudsman for 2022/23 rose 22 per cent when compared to the previous year, and are expected to rise another 49 per cen, according to figures released on Wednesday.

Of the 17,852 complaints received over the past year, about two in three were related to billing with cost of living pressures and significant energy price rises believed to have triggered the steep rise.

While the majority of complaints disputed high bills, those that objected to price increases were nearly four times higher than last year.

Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW Janine Young said the pressure has affected a growing cohort of energy and water customers, with many facing affordability challenges for the first time.

The number of customers accessing affordability programs has risen by 24 per cent and those on payment plans increased by 12 per cent.

The second biggest issue was credit-related complaints including disconnection, payment difficulties and debt collection.

Ms Young said the increase in credit complaints paints a concerning picture.

"Customers are accruing more debt and run the risk of being disconnected or credit listed if they can't keep on top of their bills," she said.


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