About the Energy and Water Ombudsman SA

The Energy and Water Ombudsman Scheme originated from the privatisation of the South Australian electricity industry in 1999. A licence condition was imposed on all entities providing electricity services to participate in an independent scheme to ensure fair practice and effective dispute resolution between the electricity providers and their customers. The scheme was subsequently expanded to include consumers of gas and water services.

We understand that things can go wrong and that is why it is important that consumers have access to the Energy and Water Ombudsman SA. We are an independent service that can investigate and resolve disputes between electricity, gas and water retailers and distributors and their customers.

One of our fundamental and guiding principles is that of fairness to all parties, maximising the opportunity for a just, economical, informal and speedy resolution within an environment of privacy and confidentiality.

We are free and informal

Our scheme is available at no cost to consumers and is readily accessible regardless of ethnicity, language skills, physical or mental abilities or geographic location within South Australia.

We are not an advocacy service

We are a scheme for complaint resolution, not for advocacy. We act independently whilst maintaining good working relationships with our members, consumer organisations and other interested bodies.

We are not a government department

We are not a government department. We are an independent, not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee and governed by a constitution and charter. Our members include providers of energy and water services in South Australia who hold authorisations under the National Energy Legislation or licenses issued under the Water Industry Act.

We are independent

Our independence is assured by a Board of Directors, equal number of whom are nominated and elected by the industries and directors nominated by the regulator to represent the customers of electricity, gas and water services or public interest groups relevant to those services, and an independent Chair.

Mission and principles

Our mission is to facilitate the prompt resolution of complaints and disputes between consumers of electricity, gas and water services and members of the scheme by providing a free, independent, accessible, fair and informal service to consumers.

Our services are free to consumers.

Our guiding principles are that we will:

  • Deal with complaints in a fair, just, informal and expeditious manner.
  • Act independently while maintaining good working relationships with members and other stakeholders.
  • Be readily accessible to consumers of electricity, gas, and water and sewerage services in South Australia regardless of their ethnicity, language skills, physical or mental abilities or geographical location.
  • Be fair to all parties thus ensuring a just, economical, informal and speedy resolution within an environment of privacy and confidentiality.
  • Staff our office with capable people, sensitive to consumer issues, and equipped to make optimal use of technology to receive and resolve enquiries, complaints and disputes in an economical and timely manner.
  • Foster the development of community awareness and develop a public profile in keeping with the status and role of the scheme.
  • Foster effective links and working relationships with our members, other complaint handling bodies, government agencies, and consumer and community organisations.

Who is the Ombudsman?

Sandro Canale

Sandro (Sandy) is the Energy and Water Ombudsman SA, having been appointed to the position in December 2007.

Sandy

Sandy is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association and the Australian and New Zealand Energy and Water Ombudsman Network.

He has extensive senior management experience in a number of large service organisations and experience in a number of disciplines including customer services, corporate affairs, support services, property and change management.

A significant portion of his career has involved responsibility for the delivery and improvement of customer facing services, customer assistance programs and the resolution of customer related matters.

Sandy is a former Director of the Energy Industry Ombudsman Scheme in SA and has also served as a Director on the Boards of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Schemes of Victoria and NSW. He is currently a Vice President of the St Vincent de Paul Society SA and Chairs the Centres Advisory Committee of the Society.

Organisational Chart

Organisational Chart - Aug 2018

Working with other Ombudsman schemes

ANZOA

The Ombudsman is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA). Established in 2003, ANZOA is a professional association and the peak body for Ombudsmen in Australia and New Zealand. ANZOA's members are individual Ombudsmen working in not-for-profit industry-based, parliamentary and other statutory offices, which meet accepted high standards of independence, impartiality and effectiveness, and which observe the Benchmarks for Industry-Based Customer Dispute Resolution (CDR Benchmarks). Through the Ombudsman’s membership of ANZOA, our staff benefit from the professional development opportunities offered by participation in ANZOA’s interest groups, for staff who perform similar roles. More information at www.anzoa.com.au.

ANZEWON

The Ombudsman is an active member of the Australia & New Zealand Energy and Water Ombudsman Network (ANZEWON). The aim of the network is to share information (eg training, systems, processes), and systemic issues arising from complaints. The network works towards as much consistency as possible between schemes.