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Commonly used words

Many organisations and industries have their own ‘jargon' or common language. This language uses words and expressions that may be spoken by or written and understood by those in the industry or those who work with people in the industry.  However, this language may not be commonly understood.  

UDL tries to use plain English as much as possible, however, there are some words and expressions that we may use due to legal or regulatory requirements that may be not be easy to understand. You may find these words or phrases on our website or in any communications with us. 

To assist you, we have, where we can, changed some of the language have named some words below and phrases with an explanation that we hope will be helpful.

If you come across any words or phrases you don’t understand please email us at so that we can add them to this list.

Commonly Used Words

  • Accepted Complaints  are considered by UDL to be deadlocked complaints that are accepted as being within jurisdiction, suitable for investigation and are referred to UDL's conciliation team. If they cannot be resolved, the conciliator will draft a decision in collaboration with the Commissioner.

  • The words complaints and disputes are often used when a person has an issue about their energy providers.  UDL considers each complaint and/or dispute according to the rules (schemes) that are in in use at the time the complaint/dispute happened

  • A conciliator is simply a person who acts as a mediator between two (or more) disputing people or groups.

    For example: a mediator (conciliator) is person who attempts to make people involved in a conflict come to an agreement. UDL acted as a conciliator (mediator) between the person who complained about the energy company and the energy company.  

    You can find out more here.

  • ‘Deadlock’ is the term we use to describe the status of a complaint that either requires UDL to investigate immediately (eg, complaints about impending or completed disconnections) or remains unresolved after the utility company had an opportunity (usually 20 working days) to resolve the complaint with the complainant directly.  We assess jurisdiction and whether there are grounds to take no further action perhaps because the provider has already made a fair and reasonable offer. Most complaints are resolved before being accepted.

    When a complaint reaches UDL and appears to be at deadlock, UDL will notify the company and give them opportunity to raise any reason why UDL should not do so. This could be because the company believes it has made a fair and reasonable offer to address the complaint or that UDL does not have the power to consider it.

    UDL will keep the parties informed when it decides whether to accept the complaint or accept any challenge made by the company.

  • Disputes are disagreements or differences about a specific issue between two or more parties.  

    When a dispute reaches UDL and appears to be at deadlock (and in jurisdiction), UDL will notify the Energy Company that is the UDL Scheme member, providing an opportunity for that member to raise any reason the dispute may be out of jurisdiction. 

    For example; Anthony disputes his energy bill (disagrees) with his energy company.

  • "Energy companies" is the encompassing term UDL uses to describe our member companies in the four schemes we administer:

    • Energy Complaints Scheme, known as ECS
    • Broadband Shared Property Access Disputes, known as BSPAD
    • Water Complaints Scheme, Water
    • Telecommunications Complaints Scheme, Telecommunications
  • An enquiry is considered by UDL to be when a consumer is simply seeking information or assistance or has contacted us in error; for example thinking they were calling their energy company 

  • Case examples or examples of complaints describe complaints that have been made and includes complaints that have required the Commissioner's decision. 

    They can also be called case studies, case summaries, complaint case examples. 

  • UDL is free, fair and independent. 

    • UDL offers a free service for consumers (people who pay the gas, electric, water or broadband shared fibre providers).   
    • UDL offers a fair service for consumers which means our service is honest and does not have self-interest, prejudice or favouritism.
    • UDL offers an independent service for consumers which means that UDL is free from outside organisations (control)  and is not subject to outside authority such as the government or an energy provider.
  •  UDL’s operations are funded by scheme members who pay an annual fee, or levy, which is calculated using the following criteria:  

    1.  a charge based on the number of customers they have
    2. a charge based on the number of accepted deadlock complaints (if any) 

    This funding model is used by most dispute resolution companies. It ensures complaints can be made freely by consumers and encourages the resolution of complaints by utilities companies directly with consumers.

    While UDL is funded by the industry it investigates, this does not affect its independence. It has a fully independent Board and is required to be regularly reviewed by an independent reviewer. Please visit our Who we are page for further details.

  • UDL uses the term provider to mean a company that provides energy to you or energy company.  It is defined in the Energy Scheme rules as: 'Providers who provide goods or services in the Utilities Sector'.

    • Provide means making energy available to you or supplying energy to you or providing network access to you. 
    • Energy can be gas, electricity, water, telecommunications or broadband fibre. 

    UDL works with you and gas providers, electricity providers, water providers, and broadband fibre providers and companies providing network access.  

  • UDL manages four dispute resolution schemes:

    • the Energy Complaints Scheme;
    • the Broadband Shared Property Access Disputes (BSPAD) Scheme;
    • a Water Complaints Scheme.
    • a Telecommunications Complaints Scheme

    Scheme simply means the rules we use or the approach we use to manage energy, water, telecommunications, or broadband installation (shared property) complaints.  

    Scheme is a word that that is commonly used in the environment and energy sector that UDL works in and includes the Emissions Trading Scheme or Home Energy Scheme.

    A scheme member is an Energy Company that is a member of one of UDL's four schemes. 

  • Complaints are grumbles or moans or protests about a specific issue. For example; Marilyn moaned about his water bill and put in a complaint to his water provider. The general definition of a complaint is:  

    An expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required. If the complaint is within 20 working days, we may carry out a three-way call or other dispute resolution method, provide a complaint summary or connect the consumer to their provider.

    UDL rules (scheme) 

    The rules define a complaint as:

    “An expression of dissatisfaction made to or about a provider where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected."

    For example, a complaint may be made by letter, email, phone call, text message, or a post on a social media page maintained by the provider, but not on a social media page maintained by the complainant or third party.

    This definition aligns with the Australian/New Zealand Standard: AS/NZS 10002:2014.