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Direct Energy* and its affiliates (collectively “us,” “we,” or “our”) operates and controls websites, mobile sites, contests, promotions, events, sweepstakes, applications, and other content and services (collectively, “ Site”).
This Policy only applies to information collected by us, our affiliates, or our service providers from or about:
(i) visitors to, or users of, our Site;
(ii) prospective and current residential and small business customers;
(iii) users of any mobile-device applications that we offer (such as its iOS and Android applications);
(iv) participants in our contests or promotions;
(v) service providers and business partners;
(vi) job applicants; and
(vii) other third parties that we interact with.
WHEN YOU ACCESS ANY OF OUR SITES OR SUBMIT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION TO US BY ANY MEANS, YOUR INFORMATION WILL BE MANAGED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS POLICY. TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CHOICES REGARDING YOUR INFORMATION, SEE SECTION IV BELOW.
I. Information We Collect
We collect Personal Information (defined below) about you in connection with many of our services, with the goal of improving our services and providing you with the best products and possible experience. When using our Site, you may be prompted to create an account which may store your name, mailing address, email address or encrypted credit card information. When contacting or otherwise engaging with us, you may be required to submit contact information. When communicating with us, all communications will be transmitted and stored by us.
We collect information:
· Directly from you through your interactions with us via phone calls, text messaging, chats, emails, webforms, or social media and use of our products;
- When you access or use our services or devices;
- When you subscribe to our marketing materials;
· Automatically as you navigate through our Site (See Website Use Information in part B below);
· From third parties or publicly available sources (e.g. from social media services, forums, commercially available services); and
- If you apply for a job with us.
By providing us Personal Information, you agree that you are authorized to provide that information and are accepting this Policy and any supplementary privacy statement that may be relevant to you. If you do not agree to our practices, please do not register, subscribe, create an account or otherwise interact with our services, our websites or mobile-device applications.
We collect the following types of information:
A. Personal Information: We collect PII, Customer Data and Social Media Content (each defined below and collectively, “Personal Information”).
1. Personally Identifiable Information (“ PII”): “PII” means any information that, by itself or in conjunction with other information, may be used to specifically identify or contact you including but not limited to: (a) contact information, including name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, social security and driver's license number; (b) credit and financial information, account numbers, billing and credit history or payment history, and employment and income information ; (c) customer relationship information, such as customer service requests and/or (d) distribution utility account numbers or meter identification numbers.
2. “Customer Data” means Customer Energy Usage Data (defined below) when combined or linked with your PII. We may collect Customer Data from our devices such as in-home thermostats, smart meters or Connected Home devices where applicable.
3. Social Media Content: If you access or log-in to our Site through a social media service or another website, app, service or log-in (“Other Service”), the information we collect includes your user ID and/or username, any information or content you have permitted the Other Service to share with us, such as your profile picture, email address or friends' lists, and any information you have made public (collectively, “Social Media Content”).
B. Non-Identifying Information: We collect Customer Energy Usage Data and Website Use Information (each defined below and collectively, “ Non-Identifying Information”).
1. Customer Energy Usage Data: “ Customer Energy Usage Data” means measured energy usage that does not identify the customer to whom the energy usage information relates.
2. Website Use Information: “ Website Use Information” means information our servers automatically record when you visit our Site, such as your IP address. Like many websites, we use “cookies” and other tracking technologies (such as web beacons, pixel tabs, etc.) (collectively “ Automatic Data Collection Tools”) to keep track of your interests and/or preferences and recognize you as a return visitor to personalize your experience. We allow our trusted Service Providers to utilize Automatic Data Collection Tools for analytic or marketing purposes. Some of the Automatic Data Collection Tools we use are associated with your customer account (including Personal Information), and others are not. We may use “session cookies” (cookies that last until you close your browser) or “persistent cookies” (cookies that last until you or your browser delete them).
II. How We Use Information We Collect
We use Personal and Non-Identifying Information to provide you products and services, such as to fulfill your requests for products and services or to help us personalize our offerings and improve our service to you. We also use your Personal Information to manage and support our business functions, such as fraud prevention, marketing and legal functions. To do this, we may combine Personal and Non-Identifying information, collected online and offline, including information from third party or publicly available sources.
Examples of how we use your information include the following business purposes:
· To fulfill your requests for products or services you have chosen and communicate with you or your authorized representative about those requests.
· For business or operational purposes (including product and service development; managing our communications; determining the effectiveness of our sales, marketing and advertising; analyzing and enhancing our products, services, websites and apps; ensuring the security of our networks and information systems; technical support; performing accounting, auditing, invoicing, reconciliation and collection activities, payment processing; data processing and management; and improving and maintaining the quality of our customer service ;
· To establish, manage and terminate business relations with you;
- To better understand customer behavior to improve our marketing and advertising efforts and improve the distribution of our products and services
- To obtain credit approval;
- To personalize our service offerings and Sites and inform you of our products and services, in some cases, other than those that you have specifically requested, including targeted offers and ads through our Sites, third-party sites, and via email or text message (with your consent, where required by law);
- To verify identity of customers and protect us against error, fraudulent activities, theft and damage to our goods and property;
- To comply with legal or regulatory requirements or to comply with legal process including subpoenas, court orders or search warrants, and as otherwise authorized by law;
- To investigate or prevent illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the physical safety of any person or violations of the terms and conditions of using the Site;
- To enable your participation in programs, promotions, sweepstakes, contests, games, special events, blogs and chats if you choose to participate;
- In connection with a job application or inquiry for employment consideration; and
- To evaluate or conduct a merger, divestiture, restructuring, reorganization, dissolution, or other sale or transfer of some or all of our assets, whether as a going concern or as part of bankruptcy, liquidation, or similar proceeding, in which personal information held by us about our customers is among the assets transferred .
- Data analytics.
We may use Customer Data to provide you with feedback about your energy use and analytics, your security and home automation system and controls, to help you set energy goals/budgets and track your progress. We may also use Customer Data for customer support, system restoration, and research and development activities for new products and services, and other similar purposes. We also provide Customer Data to Service Providers (as defined below) for marketing purposes unless you have opted out of these sharing practices. (see Authorizing Sharing of Customer Data in Section IV below)
We use Non-Identifying Information to analyze Site traffic, understand customer needs and trends, improve our products and services, and improve marketing and interest-based advertising. We may use Non-Identifying Information by itself or with information obtained from publicly available sources (e.g. social media services, forums, etc.) or commercially available sources. For more information on how this type of advertising works, go to http://www.aboutads.info/principles.
We may also monitor and record any communications we have with you, like phone conversations, chat sessions, and emails. This is to ensure we’re providing you with quality service and meeting our regulatory and legal responsibilities.
Under our Refer-A-Friend or similar promotions, when you invite others to participate in our services, we may collect the information you provide about those people such as their name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. When you give us their information, you confirm that you have their consent to do so, have provided them with the information set out in this Policy, and that they have not objected to the use of their Personal Information as described in this Policy.
III. Sharing Your Information
We DO not rent or sell your Personal Information but may share or disclose Personal Information with our affiliates, Service Providers, or other third parties that work with us. We will only share Personal Information for a business purpose or to help us provide products or services to you.
In circumstances other than those described in this Policy, we will provide specific notice or ask for your affirmative consent to share your Personal Information, as required by law, before we share your Personal Information for other purposes.
We may share Personal Information about you in the following circumstances:
A. Service Providers:
We may share your Personal Information and Non-Identifying Information with third parties, contractors, consultants, agents, information processors, financial institutions, and other parties who require the information to assist us in establishing, maintaining and managing our business relationship with you (“Service Providers”), such as marketing our products to you or contacting you about our products and services. We may offer co-branded services or features, such as promotions, contests, sweepstakes or other programs with a third-party (“Co-Branded Services ”). In addition, our Service Providers may collect your Personal Information directly from you or from publicly available sources and may share your information with us to help us provide a product or service to you. These third parties will only have access to Personal Information necessary to complete their service and are not authorized by us to use or disclose the information except as necessary to perform services on our behalf or comply with legal requirements.
We require our Service Providers to enter into contractual agreements, which require them to comply with similar confidentiality and data security standards as us and prohibit them from further disclosing or using your information other than to carry out the obligations in the agreements we have in place with them.
B. Transfer of Assets:
As we continue to develop our business, we may sell or purchase assets or businesses. If another entity acquires any of our assets, your information may be transferred to and used by this acquiring entity. Also, if any bankruptcy or reorganization proceeding is brought by or against us, all such information may be considered an asset of ours and as such may be sold or transferred to third parties to the extent permitted by applicable law. If these circumstances arise, we will continue to ensure the confidentiality and security of Personal Information.
C. Legal Necessity:
We may disclose Personal Information when required by law or if we believe such action is necessary to: (1) fulfill a government or regulatory request; (2) comply with the law or legal process; (3) protect or defend our legal rights or property, or our Site; or (4) to protect the health and safety of the general public.
IV. What Choices Do You Have About Our Use of Your Information?
As a customer, you have choices in controlling Personal Information you share with us.
A. Accessing and Updating Your Personal Information: It is important that the Personal Information we hold about you is accurate and current. Subject to applicable law, you may request access to the Personal Information we hold about you or change information that is inaccurate or out of date. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can access and manage your information from your online account portal. It may not always be possible to completely remove or modify information in our databases, but we will make reasonable efforts to do so upon your request.
When making an access request, we may require specific information from you to verify your identity and right to access the Personal Information we hold about you to protect your privacy and maintain security. We may charge you a fee in instances that require a disproportionate effort, but we will advise you of any fee in advance. We may decline to process requests that are frivolous or unreasonably repetitive, risk the privacy of others, or are extremely impractical.
B. Commercial Electronic Communications from Us. When we are sending electronic communications to you via email or text message, we will do so with your consent where required by law. You can opt-out of receiving text messages from us at any time by texting "STOP." You may unsubscribe from receiving commercial email communications by clicking the “unsubscribe” link included at the bottom of any marketing emails we send, or by emailing us at email@example.com. Please allow sufficient time for your preferences to be processed. If you have installed a mobile app and you wish to stop receiving push notifications, you can change the settings on your mobile device or through the app. Please know that, even if you opted out of receiving marketing communications from us by email or text message, we may still contact you for transactional or informational purposes if you are subscribed to other text lists. Some examples are contacts for customer service or account related notices. To opt-out of receiving transactional or informational communications from us, you may update these preferences in your online account.
C. Authorizing Sharing of Customer Data : If we are sharing Personal Information with Service Providers or other third party to market third party products and services to you, we will provide you an opportunity to opt-out of allowing us to release your Personal Information, however it may take up to seven business days to complete your request.
D. “Do Not Track” Technology: Certain browsers may offer you the option of providing notice to websites that you do not wish for your online activities to be tracked for preference-based advertising purposes (“DNT Notice”). Unfortunately, given how interest-based advertising works, DNT Notices may not effectively accomplish this goal. For this and a variety of other reasons, with respect to our Site, we do not take any particular action based on browser based DNT Notices.
If you do not wish to participate in interest-based advertising via third party advertising networks or to opt out of the use of certain tracking technologies, please visit http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp or http://www.aboutads.info/choices/ and follow the simple opt-out process.
V. Safeguarding Personal Information
Data Security: We process information inside and outside the United States; therefore, your Personal Information may be processed on a server located outside of the United States. We have implemented physical, administrative, and technical safeguards and security measures we consider reasonable and appropriate to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of Personal Information under our control. However, such safeguards cannot prevent loss, misuse or alteration of Personal Information and we cannot guarantee or warrant the security of any information. We are not responsible for the theft, destruction, or inadvertent disclosure of your Personal Information and we are not responsible for any damages or liabilities relating to any such incidents to the fullest extent permitted by law. In the event your information is compromised, we will notify you in the most expedient time reasonable under the circumstances and where required under law. We may delay notification as necessary while we determine the scope of the breach and restore reasonable integrity to our systems and for the legitimate needs of law enforcement. We also review our security procedures periodically to consider appropriate new technology and updated methods to safeguard your information and our systems.
Data Retention: We will retain, use, and store your Personal Information as necessary to comply with its business requirements and objectives, legal and regulatory obligations, to mitigate and resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements. We do not undertake any obligation to retain your data for any particular length of time and anticipate retaining your Personal Information for as long as it is useful.
Phishing Emails: We will only use your Personal Information to contact and interact with you as described in this Policy.
We will not send you an email asking you to reply by providing personal or account information or threaten to disconnect your services unless you provide us personal information. If you receive such an email, it may be an attempted identity theft scheme that is commonly called “phishing,” where hackers steal your passwords or infect your computer with malicious software. If you are concerned about clicking links provided within an email sent by us, do not click the link. Instead, you should manually input our website address in your preferred web browser. Doing so will ensure that you do not open a third-party website disguised to look like our website.
For more information about “phishing,” and steps you can take to protect your personal information, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov.
VI. Privacy of Children's Information
Our Site is not directed to children. We do not sell products or services to children under the age of 13 and we do not knowingly collect Personal Information from children. If you are a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 13 and believe he or she has disclosed Personal Information to us, please Contact Us . A parent or guardian may review and request deletion of such child's Personal Information and prohibit the use of that information.
VII. Linked Sites
Our Site may contain links to other websites, devices, apps, features, products and services (e.g., gifts cards) operated by third parties which may have their own privacy policies. This Policy does not apply to your use of third party websites. We are not responsible for the practices or content on such linked sites, and your use of those sites is not governed by this Policy. We have no liability or responsibility for those sites or their policies/practices. We recommend that you carefully read the policies, including terms and conditions of use, of each site you visit.
VIII. Contacting Us
If you have questions or comments about our Policy, wish to make corrections to your information or want to opt-out from receiving commercial emails from us, or wish to withdraw your consent to the sharing your Personal Information, please contact us as follows:
c/o Compliance Department
910 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002
If you would like to make a formal complaint, please visit our Contact Us page to Send Us A Message, and select “Complaint.” All complaints will be evaluated, and a reply will be sent as soon as appropriate. In some instances, we may have to cease services to you if necessary to satisfy your request.
We may review and update this Policy periodically without any prior notice. We will post a notice on this Site to inform you of any changes to our Policy and indicate when it was most recently updated. In the case of material changes that may adversely affect you, we may provide a more direct way of notifying you of changes to this Policy. If you do not wish to accept the changes, you should cease using this Site.
This Policy does not create or confer on any individual or on Direct Energy any rights or impose on Direct Energy any obligations beyond any rights conferred or obligations imposed by applicable law.
This Policy was last updated on January 1, 2020.