Great Plains Natural Gas Co. a division of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., understands the importance of protecting the privacy of all information provided by customers. We respect and protect your privacy and recognize the importance of our customers’ trust. The purpose of this notice is to inform you of the types of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)* that we collect, security measures that we take, and how we share information inside and outside of our company.
*Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is defined as data that can be used to distinguish or trace the identity of an individual (e.g., name, Social Security number, biometric record, etc.) alone, or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual.
Information We May Collect
In the course of providing natural gas service, Great Plains only collects and maintains the customer PII needed to perform its regulated utility business functions. Great Plains collects and maintains PII in order to provide safe and reliable utility service; to provide other services for safety reasons; to detect and prevent unauthorized use of utility services; to prevent fraud; and to meet legal and regulatory requirements.
Great Plains collects information, including PII at the time natural gas service is requested, including:
• Information such as your name or names of responsible parties on the account, address, and Social Security number.
• Great Plains’ customers have the right to refuse to provide their Social Security number upon initiating natural gas service and Great Plains will allow the use of an alternative identification process to personally identify a customer, such as a valid U.S. or State Government issued photo identification. A customer’s decision not to provide their Social Security number shall not impact the customer’s ability to receive service provided that the customer provides alternative identification. Great Plains will also delete an existing customer’s Social Security number upon request by the customer and the establishment of an alternative identification process.
In the normal course of providing utility service, we obtain information including:
• Your business relationships and transactions with us and our subsidiaries, and others, including information such as energy service and usage, account balance and payment history. Further, for those customers utilizing Great Plains’ online account services website, Great Plains also collects computer IP addresses when customers log on with their username and password. Great Plains tracks such information to assist with troubleshooting and to ensure the integrity of any transaction conducted through the website.
• Consumer reporting agencies, including information such as verification of your identity, credit, creditworthiness and payment history.
How We Secure Your Information
Great Plains restricts access to PII to employees who need to know the information or provide services, service accounts, and to address safety concerns and unsatisfactory conditions with a customers’ facility or equipment. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that comply with applicable industry standards and federal regulations, including the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, to protect PII from unauthorized disclosure.
In the event of an unauthorized use or release of customer PII data, Great Plains will promptly notify affected customers, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Such notice shall include the number of customers affected, date of period of breach, type of data inappropriately accessed, whether the source or cause of the breach has been identified and provided to law enforcement, steps taken to prevent similar breaches, and steps to redress the breach.Sharing Information Inside the Company
Great Plains may disclose information, including PII (as described under the heading “Information We May Collect”), to other MDU Resources Group divisions or subsidiaries, and a limited number of contract-bound third-party program contractors and evaluators who are held to strict confidentiality provisions. This helps us provide customer service, maintain customer accounts, for safety reasons, to address unsatisfactory conditions with a customers’ account, facility or equipment, and offer services to our customers.
Information Sharing Outside the Company
Great Plains will only share your PII outside the company under the following conditions:
• When the customer has authorized us to do so in writing.
• When we are responding to a subpoena or other legal process.
• When we are reporting to a credit bureau for credit reporting purposes.
• When there is an unsafe condition and we are communicating with a person who has a viable interest in the condition.
• When shared with contract-bound third parties as described in the prior section.
Importantly, Great Plains does not sell your PII and, except as provided for above, Great Plains does not share your PII with third-parties.
Customers and Former Customers
Our privacy policies and practices apply to our existing customers and to former customers. Great Plains’ customers may review their own PII on file with the utility by contacting Great Plains at 877-267-4764 and making an arrangement to visit the local Great Plains office. Customers can request the deletion of a Social Security number and/or correction or deletion of any customer PII data improperly collected or retained. Disputes regarding the deletion of a Social Security number or customer PII data that remain unresolved for more than 45 days from the date of the request for deletion may be brought by the customer or the utility to the Commission for a determination. The Commission can be reached at 651-296-0406 or 800-657-3782.
7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday