PG&E Privacy Policy

Notice of Accessing, Collecting, Storing, Using and Disclosing Energy Usage Information

Your privacy is a top priority for PG&E and we will make every reasonable effort to protect your personal information. PG&E's Privacy Policy and Notice of Accessing, Collecting, Storing, Using and Disclosing Energy Usage Information (“Privacy Policy”) covers Pacific Gas and Electric Company, its employees, agents, contractors and affiliates, and is effective October 1, 2014.

We treat information about our customers as confidential, consistent with all legal and regulatory requirements established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and other regulatory agencies. We use technology, training, and standard practices to protect your information and help prevent fraud and identity theft. The personal information we collect about you during the normal course of business is only shared with third parties with your approval, to support utility services and programs, or as required by law. To help protect your privacy and provide you with quality service, we rely on you to provide us with complete and accurate information. If you think the information we have about you is inaccurate or outdated, we encourage you to contact us at any time to update or correct the information.

In addition, to protect customer privacy, the CPUC issued "Rules Regarding Privacy and Security Protections for Energy Usage Data." These rules are consistent with PG&E's privacy policy, which restricts the release of certain energy usage information that can reasonably be used to identify an individual customer, or a customer's family, household or residence, to a third party without the customer's prior written consent, except as is necessary for PG&E to:

  • Operate and maintain PG&E's electric or gas system.
  • Bill for electric or gas services.
  • Provide other services required by law or the CPUC.
  • Plan, implement or evaluate energy management, demand response or energy efficiency programs with PG&E, the CPUC, or a government agency that is part of a CPUC- authorized program.
  • Respond to a warrant or court or law enforcement order, after prior notice to you unless such notice is prohibited by law.
  • Assist emergency responders when there is an immediate threat to life or property.

Below are Frequently Asked Questions describing how PG&E uses and protects the information we collect about our customers. Also provided below are details on how we collect information, types of information we collect and use, the third parties with whom we share this information, the purposes for which we collect, use and share the information, and the approximate period of time that we retain the information.

What type of information does PG&E collect?

We collect customer information based on our business relationship with you and your use of our utility services and other products we provide. Some examples include:

  • Contact information that allows us to communicate with you, including your name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • Billing and payment information, including your payment data, credit history, and Social Security Number.
  • Electric and gas usage data gathered by our metering systems.
  • Information gathered when you choose to participate in utility programs or services, such as energy efficiency or demand response programs, or on-line utility websites or Web-based services such as My Energy.

How is the information collected?

We collect customer information in a variety of ways, including:

  • When you set up your account or interact with us regarding your account, your utility service, and your participation in utility programs. This may be collected by phone with a customer service representative, by mail or through our website at pge.com (views our Terms of Use).
  • When you use electricity and gas, usage data is collected by our metering systems.
  • When we work with third parties such as credit agencies or contractors who provide utility services on our behalf.

How is the information used and how long is it kept?

We use personal information to administer your account, inform you about your energy usage and utility programs and services available to you, and provide quality service. Examples include:

  • To generate your billing statement, and track your account billing and payment history.
  • To allow you to see your energy usage data on a next-day basis, when applicable, using secure access on the Internet.
  • To communicate with you about your energy usage to help you select the best rate plan, or help you, if you choose, to take better advantage of pricing programs offered by PG&E, such as our SmartRate™ program.
  • To communicate with you about programs or options offered by PG&E that may help you to lower your energy usage or see other benefits.
  • To communicate with you about energy saving tips and energy management tips tailored to your geographic area, climate, and daily energy usage.

We may also include data about your electric and gas usage in a group of other usage data so that it becomes anonymous and cannot be identified personally with you. For instance, the data group could be used to provide a summary of total energy usage for all homes and businesses in a certain geographic area or climate zone. In these instances, the data is not subject to privacy restrictions and is used by us to manage, provide, and improve our services and business operations. Some examples include:

  • To analyze rates and rate structures.
  • To forecast usage patterns and plan for growth in different geographic areas.
  • To improve our energy supply planning and to better design and engineer our energy distribution systems.

When we use your personally identifiable data, we may share it with PG&E contractors and vendors for purposes of providing you services and operating our utility system. However, in these cases, our policy dictates that contractors or vendors agree to only use it for utility purposes or programs and to protect it under the same confidentiality and privacy standards that our own employees follow.

We typically keep personal information about your billing, usage data and utility services based on requirements or recommendations by the CPUC, such as seven years for individual customer billing records. Generally, we only collect and keep as much personal information for as long as is reasonably necessary to provide utility services to you or as approved by the CPUC or required by law. Secure disposal methods are used when personal information is no longer needed.

How does PG&E protect customer information from unauthorized access?

Protecting customer information from unauthorized access is a priority for our customers. PG&E takes extensive measures to ensure the integrity of our systems and to secure and protect customer data. We restrict access to customer information to protect it, and have implemented appropriate security controls to protect the information when it is stored or transmitted by us. Contractors acting on PG&E's behalf are required to follow the same security protocols as PG&E, and usually go through an extensive security review of their data handling processes, before PG&E permits any customer data sharing.

Is my customer information disclosed to others?

It is PG&E's policy to not release personal customer information to any other person or business entity without your prior consent, unless necessary to provide utility services to you. There are, however, certain exceptions that have been approved by the CPUC or the California Legislature or that are needed to provide utility services to you. PG&E may release personal information without your prior consent as follows:

  • To law enforcement officers, pursuant to legal process (such as a warrant or subpoena approved by a judge).
  • To contractors providing utility-related services on behalf of PG&E—but only if necessary to render the service and subject to confidentiality and security requirements.
  • To the CPUC, the California Energy Commission (CEC) (or other state or federal governmental agencies with jurisdiction over PG&E) when they are legally entitled to such information.
  • To others as required by court order or by applicable laws, rules, or regulations governing PG&E, such as academic researchers to better inform California energy policy.
  • To credit reporting agencies and collection agencies if your account is assigned for collection.
  • To emergency responders in situations of immediate threat to life or property.

As stated above, on occasion PG&E may share non-customer specific energy usage data with third parties for utility business operations, for the purpose of performing research that may help improve such programs as our Energy Efficiency and Demand Response programs, or to inform California energy policy.

Our policy is to not sell or provide personal customer information to third parties for their commercial benefit unless necessary to provide utility services.

What information can customers access?

Most customers have secure access through their monthly bills or the PG&E website to their own electricity and gas usage data. This data is collected and provided one day after actual usage and shows hourly usage for residential customers and 15-minute interval data for non-residential (business) customers.

PG&E's website also provides secure access to customer pricing information, including an estimate of the month-end bill and rates at peak and non-peak time. Customers on a standard rate plan also have an option to be notified when they move up to higher priced tiers by participating in a voluntary PG&E program called Energy Alerts.

PG&E protects this customer data under the same current privacy protections and data exchange rules. In particular, except under the limited circumstances discussed above, PG&E does not release your energy usage data to any other person or business entity without your permission.

What information do we collect about you on our website and how do we protect the privacy of your information stored or exchanged on our website?

Information We Collect
If you register on PG&E's website to access services related to your residential or business account, you may be asked to submit personal information such as your PG&E account number, name, address, partial Social Security Number (last four digits), phone number and email address. You may also be asked to submit additional personal information or financial information in order to use certain specific services. Our goal is to protect all information you provide us on the website, as set forth in this Privacy Policy.

How We Use the Information
We ask you to provide personal information when you access customer services offered on the website, and that information enables us to provide you with better service. We may use this information to contact you to respond to an inquiry that you send to PG&E or to keep you informed about PG&E and its services. If you choose email as an approved method for communicating with us, then we will generally use your email to communicate with you.

In order to provide you with services offered on our website, or to complete transactions requested by you on the website, we may transfer you to outside services provided by third-party operators. In certain instances, the third-party content may be shown in such a way that it appears that you are still on PG&E's website. In such cases, we will have agreements with those third parties where they agree to maintain the confidentiality of your personal information and to use it only to help us serve you.

Other than for the exceptions noted in the above section, it is PG&E's policy to not release personal information about you to any other person or business entity without your prior written consent. Written consent may be obtained electronically. We encourage you to protect the confidentiality of your user name and password and other personally identifiable information that you access on PG&E's website. You are responsible for your use of PG&E's website; therefore please use your own good judgment when choosing to share your user name or password with anyone who could use it to access your personal information without your permission.

Children's Privacy Online
We share our customers' concern that children's privacy is important. We have areas of our website intended for the use of children containing information about energy and safety. We also provide free classroom materials for teachers on energy awareness and safety. We do not monitor the age of users of the website. However, if you are under the age of 18, you should not submit personal information on the website or any websites without the consent of your parent or guardian.

General Usage Information
Your visits to PG&E's website.We collect information about our website, such as the number of visitors to the website and the number of users that click on certain links or use certain services. For some applications, such as rate analysis, we link usage information with the customer visiting the website. We use industry standard software to create summary statistics of the usage data we collect, which may then be used to highlight what our visitors find interesting, to improve the website design and usability, to identify system performance issues, or for other internal purposes.

Our Use of Your IP Address.An Internet Protocol ("IP") address is a number automatically assigned to your computer every time you browse the Internet. When you visit the website, our servers log your current IP address. We may use your IP address to help diagnose problems with our servers and to administer the website. Your IP address is not tied to your personal information and we do not use it to identify you when logging IP address data except to provide content to you.

Our Use of Cookies.When you visit the website, our server may create cookies, which are small files placed on your computer, making it easier for you to use the website by verifying when you travel from page to page. The data we collect on website usage from cookies is not tied to your personal information and we only use it in a collective form. We do not sell or transfer the data we obtain from cookies for any purpose other than to evaluate website usage or provide utility services to you, or to contact you to offer programs and/or services that you may be interested in.

How We Respond to Web Browser "Do Not Track" Signals and Other Similar Mechanisms
Our website does not accept “do not track” signals or other similar mechanisms. “Do Not Track” signals are used by some Web browsers to attempt to limit tracking related to your visits to a website.

Links
While browsing the website, you may encounter and choose to access other third-party operated websites or online services through hypertext links. These third-party websites may send their own cookies to you, log your IP address, and otherwise collect data or personal information about you and your online activities. PG&E does not control and is not responsible for what third parties do in connection with their websites or online services, or how they handle your personal information. Please use caution and consult the privacy policies posted on each third-party website for further information.

Security
Once you login to PG&E's online services, any account information you enter (or that is displayed on our website in your browser window) is secured using an industry standard security technology known as Secure Sockets Layer ("SSL"). By using SSL, we attempt to protect the confidentiality of your personal and financial information. Your browser must be capable of supporting SSL. Please check with your browser manufacturer for details.

Can I give my own private information to a third party?

Yes, customers may authorize any third party to have access to their PG&E provided information.

Should I be concerned about giving my private information to a third party? What are the risks if I do so? What are my rights to restrict the use of my private information?

PG&E believes that there is often value in sharing information with third parties and that there are many safe ways to do so. However, there are risks as well, as this information potentially contains personal data. Once provided to a third party, customers and PG&E may have little control of how it is used. Therefore, before sharing information, it is important that you understand how a third party intends to use your information, if they will share it with other parties, and your rights as a consumer and owner of such information. Those rights include the ability for you to authorize or decline the sharing of your information with a third party.

PG&E's Privacy Policy and the CPUC's Privacy Rules provide you as a customer with rights and control over third parties who seek and obtain the use of your private information. You have the right to receive specific information from a third-party about how they intend to use your private information, how long they plan to access your private information, the security practices and controls they use to protect your private information, how you can stop or limit the third party's use of your private information, and how the third party handles complaints from you and other customers regarding their use and access to your private information.

For more information on your rights and the obligations of third parties who use or access your private information, please contact PG&E at the addresses and links below or review the CPUC's Privacy Rules. For more general information on consumer privacy best practices, please visit the Federal Trade Commission's website.

How will I know about changes to this Privacy Policy and how can I obtain prior versions?

We will notify you of any changes to this Privacy Policy through notices on PG&E's website, pge.com, including how to obtain prior versions of this Privacy Policy upon request. We will also notify you annually to revisit the most updated version of this Privacy Policy on PG&E's website.

What if I have questions, concerns, or disputes about this Privacy Policy or my disclosed information?

If you have questions, concerns, or complaints on PG&E’s Privacy Policy, would like to request a current or prior version of PG&E’s Privacy Policy, or would like more information regarding our process for altering this Privacy Policy, you can contact us using the following options:

 Residential Customer Service Representative Commercial Customer Service Representative
By Phone: 1-800-743-5000 1-800-468-4743
By Web: pge.com/en/myhome/addservices/contactus/index.page
By Mail:

PG&E Residential and Business Customer Service
Correspondence Management Center
PO Box 997310
Sacramento, CA 95899-7310

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