Making a Complaint about the CRU
In fulfilling its statutory duties and functions, the CRU recognises the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with utility customers and users, members of the public, regulated entities and other third-party stakeholders.
The CRU acknowledges that circumstances can arise where a person or an organisation may wish to make a complaint about their interactions with the CRU or organisations acting on its behalf. This document sets out the CRU’s procedure for managing such complaints.
What issues are covered by the complaints procedure?
This procedure covers complaints that relate directly to the quality of service we (the CRU and its agents, ARISE) provide, for example:
- complaints about delays, mistakes, lack of available information, poor quality of information, lack of courtesy;
- instances where you did not receive the quality of service from the CRU you feel you are entitled to;
- complaints under Section 39 of the Disability Act 2005 relating to access to our services, buildings or information; and
- complaints about discrimination under the Equal Status Acts 1998 and 2004.
What issues are not covered by the complaints procedure?
The procedure does not cover complaints about:
- activities where there are statutory mechanisms to deal with complaints such as our complaints resolution service (i.e. complaints about gas and electricity suppliers or Uisce Éireann); and
- Freedom of Information (FOI)/Access to Information on the Environment requests.
You can make a complaint by emailing or writing to us at:
Quality Customer Service Officer
The Grain House
Belgard Square North
Dublin 24, D24 PXW0
All complaints to the CRU must be made in writing. If you require some assistance in order to comply with this requirement, please inform a CRU staff member.
What you should include in your complaint
Remember to ensure that your complaint contains the following information:
- Your name and contact information, and whether you are acting on behalf of someone else;
- A brief description of how your complaint arose, including relevant dates and times, where applicable;
- A list of the specific concerns you wish the CRU to address; and
- Your preferred method of communication (email, post etc) and whether there are any particular requirements you may have in processing your complaint that the CRU should be aware of.
This information will assist us in processing your complaint. You may also provide additional or supporting information and copies of relevant documents together with your complaint, where necessary and appropriate.
If you are making a complaint on behalf of somebody else, the CRU will need evidence of your authority to act on their behalf.
Where a complaint is received in relation to an energy or water supplier, it will be referred to the Customer Care Team for decision. Complaints about suppliers and resulting decisions are final and are not subject to appeal. However, complaints about how such complaints were handled by the CRU, are within the scope of this procedure.
Processing your complaint
A. Initial assessment
Once your complaint is received, it will be formally acknowledged by the Complaints Officer within 5 working days.
Once your complaint has been acknowledged, the Complaints Officer will undertake a preliminary assessment of the matter to:
- assess whether the complaint is one that falls within the scope of this procedure;
- evaluate the complexity or the nature of the issues;
- determine whether additional information is required from you; and
- consider whether further investigation is required.
Once this assessment has been completed, the Complaints Officer will determine what further action is required, if any. If no further action is required, an explanation of the reasons for this decision will be sent to the complainant. If further action is required, the Complaints Officer will then proceed to seek an informal resolution or initiate a formal investigation of the complaint.
The Complaints Officer will seek to conclude the initial assessment within four weeks of the initial receipt of the complaint. Where this is not possible, the Complaints Officer will inform the complainant accordingly.
B. Informal resolution
Where the Complaints Officer deems it appropriate, an informal resolution of the complaint may be attempted through correspondence or by arranging a meeting between the parties. Complaints relating to more minor administrative matters may be dealt with informally by the Complaints Officer without the need for further input from the complainant.
If an informal resolution is unsuccessful, the Complaints Officer may then initiate a formal investigation of the complaint.
The Complaints Officer may decide that a formal investigation is appropriate on the conclusion of the initial assessment or where an informal resolution has not been possible. The CRU will then assign someone other than the Complaints Officer to formally investigate your complaint and will write to inform you of this step. Wherever possible, this investigator will be someone that has not had any previous involvement with the subject matter of the complaint.
At the outset of this investigation, the investigator may write to you, setting out their understanding of your complaint, asking for you to confirm whether you believe their understanding to be correct, and, where necessary, seeking any further information from you that they think they may require.
The investigator may also contact any member of staff who is the subject of your complaint and, where appropriate, the staff member’s manager, to discuss the matter.
The objective of the investigator is to establish the facts regarding your complaint. The extent of this investigation will depend on the complexity and seriousness of the issues you have raised.
The CRU will aim to complete all formal investigations as quickly as possible and within 30 working days. In some exceptional cases a formal investigation may take longer to complete. If this happens the CRU will write to you within this 30 day period to let you know the reasons for this delay and the date by which a decision is expected.
Once the investigator has completed their investigation, they will complete their investigation report. The investigation report will contain all the relevant details regarding your complaint that they have gathered during the investigation.
Once completed, the investigation report will be provided to a member of the CRU management team with responsibility for the department to which your complaint relates (the Decision Maker). The Decision Maker will then review the investigation report and decide on how best to proceed with resolving your complaint.
If the Decision Maker upholds your complaint in whole or in part, they will write to you to explain the circumstances and to provide details on what the steps the CRU plans to take to prevent the issue from occurring in future.
If your complaint has not been upheld, the Decision Maker will write to you to inform you of this and the reasons why.
The CRU takes all complaints seriously and aspire to learn from any mistakes we have made. The CRU’s senior management team considers a summary of all complaints on a regular basis, as well as details of any serious complaints.
Where there is a need for change, the CRU will develop an action plan setting out what it will do, who will do it and when it will be completed. Where appropriate, the CRU will let you know when changes related to issues raised in your complaint have been made.
Right of Appeal
Where you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, you can appeal this. The request for an appeal should be made to the Complaints Office within 10 working days of your receipt of any formal or informal decision.
Once received, your appeal will be referred to a member of staff that is more senior than the initial Decision Maker (the Appeal Officer). The Appeal Officer will carry out an initial assessment of the materials related to your complaint to determine whether a full review is merited, taking account of any additional information provided in the appeal.
Where the Appeal Officer determines that further investigation is not merited, they will inform you of their decision and the reasoning behind it.
Where the Appeal Officer determines that a further investigation is merited, they will conduct a full review of the file relating to your complaint, including any investigation report produced. The Appeal Officer will inform you of their decision within 20 working days of the CRU’s receipt of your appeal. The Appeal Officer’s decision will be final and no further appeal will be available.
What to do if you need help with the complaint process
If you need extra assistance with any stage of the complaint process, please let a CRU complaints officer and they will seek to assist you in any way they can.
What we expect from you
The CRU believes that all complainants have the right to be heard, understood and respected. However, the CRU also believes that its staff have the same rights and expects complainants to be polite and courteous in their dealings with the CRU.
Where complainants engage in aggressive or abusive behaviour, or make unreasonable or unreasonably persistent demands, the CRU reserves its right to discontinue its engagement and to end the processing of any related complaints.