We treat information about our customers, including personal information, as confidential, consistent with all legal and regulatory requirements, including those established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and others. We employ a combination of technology and standard practices to ensure your information is safeguarded from unauthorized access or exposure. The information we collect about you in the course of conducting normal business will only be shared with third parties upon your consent or as required by law.
To protect customer privacy, the CPUC issued “Rules Regarding Privacy and Security Protections for Energy Usage Data”. These rules prohibit PG&E and other California utilities from releasing 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 written consent, except as is necessary for PG&E to:
View the CPUC’s Privacy Rules.
Below is a series of Frequently Asked Questions describing how PG&E uses and protects the information we collect about our customers, including information collected using PG&E's Website and PG&E’s SmartMeter™ system. Also provided below are additional details on categories 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.
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:
We collect customer information in a variety of ways, including:
We use personal information to administer your account and inform you about your energy usage, as well as to manage, provide, and improve our services and business operations. Some examples include:
We may also aggregate data about your electric and gas usage in various formats so that the data becomes anonymous and cannot be identified personally with you. For instance, aggregated data could be a summary of total energy usage for all homes and businesses in a certain geographic area or climate. Aggregated 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:
When we use your personally identifiable data, we may share it with contractors and vendors for purposes of providing you services and operating our utility system. However, in these cases, we require that the contractors or vendors agree to only use it for utility operational purposes and to protect it under the same confidentiality and privacy standards as we apply to our own employees and operations.
We generally retain personal information about your billing and utility services, including your energy usage data, for periods of time as required or recommended by the CPUC, such as seven years for individual customer billing records. As a general policy, we collect and retain only as much personal information and only for such periods of time as is reasonably necessary to provide utility services to you or as authorized by the CPUC or required by law.
PG&E does not release personal customer information to any other person or business entity without your prior written consent.
There are, however, certain exceptions that have been authorized by the CPUC or the California Legislature or needed to provide utility services to you. PG&E may release personal information without your prior written consent as follows:
As stated above, on occasion PG&E may share non-customer specific energy usage data with third parties where necessary or beneficial for utility business operations, such as academicians performing research that may help improve our Customer Energy Efficiency or Demand Response programs
We do not sell or provide personal customer information to third parties for their commercial benefit.
Residential customers with SmartMeters™ have secure access through 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 your hourly usage on a 24-hour basis. Non-residential (business) customers with SmartMeters™ have access to this data 24 hours a day on a 15-minute interval basis provided one day after actual usage.
Customers with SmartMeters™ also have secure access to their pricing information, including an estimate of their month-end bill and rates at peak and non-peak time. Customers also have an option to be notified when they move up to higher rate 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 applicable to all customer specific data under federal and state laws and rules and orders of the CPUC. In particular, except under the limited circumstances discussed above, PG&E does not release your SmartMeter™ customer data to any other person or business entity without your affirmative consent.
Information We Collect
How We Use The Information
We ask you to provide personal information when you access various 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 send us an e-mail, then we consider e-mail communication to be at your consent, and we will e-mail you.
In order to provide you with services offered on our website, or to complete transactions or requests initiated 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 "framed" in such a way it appears that you are still on PG&E's website. In such cases, we will have agreements with those third parties whose websites you may be transferred to, under which the third parties agree to maintain the confidentiality of personal information about you and to use it only to help us serve you.
Children's Privacy Online
We share our customers’ concern that childrens’ privacy is important. We have areas of the site 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 the website. We collect information about usage of the website, such as the number of visitors to the website and the number of users that click on certain links or utilize certain services. For some applications, such as rate analysis, we link usage information with the particular 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 specifications, to identify system performance issues and 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.
How We Respond to Web Browser “Do Not Track” Signals and Other Similar Mechanisms
If you use a Web browser that permits “do not track” signals or other similar mechanisms from your computer to choose to limit our tracking of your visits and collection of data from you based on your use of our website, our website does not accept your “do not track” signals. However, you always retain the ability to choose not to use our website.
While browsing the website, you may encounter and choose to access other third-party operated Web sites 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 exercise caution and consult the privacy policies posted on each third-party website for further information.
Once you login to PG&E's online services, any account information you enter or that is displayed in your browser window is secured using an industry standard security technology known as Secure Sockets Layer ("SSL"). By using SSL, we attempt to safeguard the confidentiality of your personal and financial information. Your browser must be capable of supporting SSL. Please check with your browser manufacturer for details.
Yes, customers may authorize any third party to have access to their PG&E provided information.
PG&E believes that there are many valuable and safe ways to share information with third parties. However, there are risks as well, as this information potentially contains personal data. Once provided to a third party, customers as well as PG&E may have little control of its further use. Therefore, it is important that you understand a third party’s intended purpose for using your information, its limitations for use and further sharing with other parties, and your rights as a consumer and owner of such information including your right not to authorize sharing of your information, before making a decision to give your consented authorization to share your information with any third party.
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.
Residential Customer Service Representative
Commercial Customer Service Representative
PG&E Residential and Business Customer Service