Privacy

Viewing overhead network data on a tablet

Privacy Policy

Essential Energy (ABN 37 428 185 226) (Essential Energy, we, us or our) takes privacy seriously and is committed to protecting your privacy. When we collect, use, disclose or otherwise handle personal information, we do so in accordance with relevant Australian privacy laws.

Essential Energy complies with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). The APPs are set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act) and govern how we deal with your personal information.

At Essential Energy we look after the poles and wires that deliver electricity across regional, rural and remote New South Wales and parts of southern Queensland.

We also operate Essential Water, which provides water supply services to customers in the communities of Broken Hill, Sunset Strip, Menindee and Silverton.

Our Privacy Policy describes generally how we manage the personal information we deal with in the course of our business and demonstrates our commitment to the protection of your privacy.

Our privacy policy is divided into the following sections:

Sometimes, we may also provide you with additional information or terms which apply to you (for example we may provide you will a ‘collection statement’ or an agreement which contains privacy terms and conditions).

To understand how your electricity retailer manages your personal information, you should contact your electricity retailer directly.

1.1 Personal details
The type of personal details that we collect about you will vary depending on the circumstances of collection and the nature of the specific transaction or dealing, but may include:
(a) your personal details, such as your first name, last name, gender, status / (Mr. / Mrs / Miss etc and date of birth;
(b) your contact information, such as your home address, office address, email address, position and telephone numbers;
(c) your electricity account information, including your National Meter Identifier (NMI) and your NMI address (the meter location which may be the same as your personal address). A NMI is an identification number that helps us to identify your particular meter;
(d) other information about you that you disclose to us when dealing with us;
(e) details of any complaints or concerns raised by you;
(f) information we collect from the way you do business with us, such as when you use our telephone services, websites or mobile applications;
(g) information we obtain from third parties, such as information that we obtain from our customers (electricity retailers), credit reference agencies, fraud prevention agencies, government bodies, tax authorities or other similar organisations; and
(h) personal information which is relevant to a security incident or other incident, including web traffic usage, email traffic usage, system event logs, IP addresses, geolocation information and insurance details.
We do all that we reasonably can so that the information we hold is accurate, up-to-date, complete and relevant.
Generally, it is necessary for us to collect your personal details so that we can provide you with our services or products or for the other purposes set out in this Privacy Policy. However, if it is practicable and lawful for us to do so, we may give you the option of dealing with us anonymously or through the use of a pseudonym.
1.2 Metering data
We collect metering data about the premises connected to our electricity network. Metering data is collected via the meter at your home or business premises, to record your electricity use. We also collect water metering data for those premises located in the Essential Water area of operation. This information is used to record water use. For non-residential properties, water consumption is also used to calculate sewage usage. Metering data information is handled in accordance with the National Electricity Rules and the Market Operations Rules where they apply, as well as in accordance with this Privacy Policy.
1.3 Projects and customer surveys
As part of our commitment to develop new products and services to meet the needs of our customers, we may undertake projects and pilot studies relating to energy efficiency, demand management and/or smart electricity grid activities from time to time. We may also undertake customer surveys from time to time to collect statistics about our customers for research and product development purposes.
1.4 Sensitive information
Generally, we will not collect sensitive information about you, such as details of your race, political beliefs, religion or health. We may, however, collect some health information in certain circumstances. For instance, we may need to collect your health information (such as your life support status) if you use particular health-related appliances in your household. 
In rare circumstances we may collect sensitive information about you when you voluntarily provide this information to us when applying for work with us or during your time working for us (see section 1.7 “Working with us” for more details).
We will only collect and use sensitive information for these purposes and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and the Privacy Act. 
1.5 Non-customer information
We may also collect information about other members of a household in which a customer resides, such as whether they consent to the use of particular services in the home. Sometimes, we also need to collect personal information about individuals who are not customers. This need will usually arise where we collect the name and business contact details of a person who is the contact in the company or a government agency with which we deal. Our policy is to use personal information collected from non-customers only as permitted under the Privacy Act.
1.6 Credit information
Occasionally, we also collect, use and disclose personal credit information about you in connection with the Essential Water business. Please see our separate Essential Water credit policy (available on the Essential Water website www.essentialwater.com.au regarding how we deal with this kind of personal credit information.
1.7 Working with us
We collect personal information when recruiting personnel, such as your name, contact details, qualifications and work history. Generally, we will collect this information directly from you.
We may also collect personal information from third parties in ways which you would expect (for example, from recruitment agencies or referees you have nominated). Before offering you a position, we may collect additional details such as your tax file number, your bank details, superannuation information and other information necessary to conduct background checks to determine your suitability for certain positions.
We may also collect relevant information from third party sources such as LinkedIn and other professional websites.
When you start working with us, we may also collect geolocation information which is provided when you submit information and data to us over our IT systems from devices which you use in the course of performing your duties in the field.
In very rare circumstances, we also collect sensitive information about you when you provide this sensitive information to us on a voluntary basis and wish for us to collect and record this information in the course of working for Essential Energy. This may include your health information or other sensitive information you provide to us as part of the diversity, inclusion and health programs, services and other initiatives we offer to our workforce.

2.1 Direct collection of personal information
We generally collect your personal information directly from you. For example, we may collect personal information about you when you deal with us over the telephone, send us correspondence (whether by letter, fax or email), when you have contact with us in person or when you visit our website or otherwise complete a form on our website. If we do not obtain the information requested, we may not be able to provide you with the products or services requested or fulfil another applicable purpose of collection.
We may also collect your personal information by recording calls which you make to certain Essential Energy telephone lines, or when you are contacted by Essential Energy (including, for example, when you call or are called by our Customer Service Centre). We record calls for security, safety, training and monitoring purposes.
2.2 Indirect collection of personal information
There may be occasions when we need to obtain personal information about you from a third party. For example, we collect personal information from your energy retailer regarding your energy supply arrangement. If you work for one of our service providers or business customers or other organisations with which we do business, we may need to obtain your contact details from them. In some circumstances, we may need to obtain information relating to you from a publicly maintained record.
If you provide personal information to us about someone else (such as one of your employees if you are one of our service providers or business customers, or a member of your household or someone with whom you have dealings) you must be entitled to disclose that information to us and make sure that we are entitled to collect it. You should let the person know that they can access this Privacy Policy on our website or by calling us using the contact details set out below. If the information you provide is sensitive information, then you will need to obtain the consent of the person to whom it relates before you provide it to us.
2.3 Website collection
When you visit our website, we may collect additional information about your use of the website, which may or may not identify you. For instance, we may collect information about which pages you visit on the website to help us determine which parts of the site you value, so that we can build and develop our website to best meet customer needs. We may also collect information about your internet browser and operating system, the address of the referring site, your internet protocol address and clickstream information. This information helps us to understand how you came to find our website.
2.4 Storage of personal information
We take reasonable steps so that personal information held by us is secure from such risks as loss and interference, or unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure. Our IT systems are password protected and we use firewalls and encryption (security measures for the internet). We also maintain physical security over our paper files, data stores and premises, including locks and security systems. Access to personal information is restricted to our authorised personnel, who need to access those records as part of their job.
We may engage third party data storage providers to store and secure our data, including personal information of our customers on the basis that the information is properly secured and protected.
2.5 Retention and destruction of personal information
We take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify personal information that we no longer need, subject to other legal and regulatory obligations we may have.

3.1 Collection
We collect, hold, use and disclose personal information for the purpose of providing you with services and products, or with other information you have requested, and for purposes related or ancillary to this. To carry out those purposes, we may need to use and disclose personal information to establish and maintain any necessary accounts or records, credit checks, invoicing and billing systems, debt recovery and market research, and to develop new and better services.
Other reasons we collect personal information are to:
  • communicate with you regarding outages (planned or otherwise);
  • develop and evaluate our products and services;
  • manage our business;
  • for promotional and marketing purposes, including communicating information about our products and services (with your consent, if required);
  • assessing suitability for employment or the provision of services by independent contractors;
  • complying with our legal obligations;
  • analysing usage; and
  • for security, safety, training and monitoring purposes, including for the purpose of investigating a security incident.
3.2 Direct marketing
We may also collect, hold, use and disclose your personal information for the purpose of sending you carefully selected news and marketing materials about our services, products or promotions from time to time. If at any time you wish to stop receiving such direct marketing messages from us, the easiest way to do so (for electronic messages) is to use the unsubscribe feature in the marketing message you have received. Otherwise, please contact us on 132391 or email info@essentialenergy.com.au to let us know that you wish to opt-out of receiving direct marketing messages.
3.3 Will we give your personal information to anyone else?
We do not sell personal information to third parties. However, in the circumstances described below, we may disclose your personal information to other people or entities. We may make additional disclosures where you provide consent or where such disclosures are otherwise permitted under the Privacy Act.

(a) Outsourcing and advice
We may disclose personal information that we collect to third parties to which we contract out specialised functions or who provide services to us, such as mailing houses, printing companies, data storage companies, information technology providers and legal and accounting services. We may also disclose your personal information to third parties who provide related services or products in connection with our business, such as vendors, business partners, and any party assisting us in carrying out the purposes described above.

(b) Research and surveys
We may disclose personal information to third parties (such as government agencies and research partners) for reporting purposes in connection with the projects and trials we conduct from time to time.

(c) Disclosures required by law
For legal reasons, and in special circumstances, we may need to make disclosures of your personal information. This may occur where we are directed to do so under arrangements in place to make sure that you continue to receive electricity supply in the event of retailer failure. We may also be required to disclose your personal information to law enforcement agencies, government agencies, courts or external advisors. For example, we may be asked to disclose certain personal information about an individual to assist the police with an investigation into criminal activities. We may also be required to disclose certain information under the energy industry laws and rules. We are also subject to the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act), which requires us to make government information publicly available in response to a request unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information. If a person makes an application for access to information that relates to you, we will consult you and give you the opportunity to object to the release of the information. For more information on how we comply with the GIPA Act, please visit our GIPA pages.

We may disclose your personal information to third party service providers or research organisations located outside of Australia. For instance, we may engage third party data storage providers located overseas to store and secure our data, including our customer information. We may also disclose your personal information (such as your credit card details) outside Australia if you use a payment method (including a credit card issued overseas), which requires us to communicate information about you internationally (for example, to your bank if it is outside Australia).
The recipients of such information may be located overseas, including in Europe, India or the United States of America.

Individuals may request access to their personal information unless we are permitted by law to withhold that information. Individuals may also request the correction of any personal information which is inaccurate. Any requests for access or correction of your personal information should be made in writing to our Privacy Officer.
We will in most cases provide an individual with access to their personal information. To the extent permitted by law, there are some exceptions where this access may be denied (for example, where providing access may have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of other individuals or would be unlawful).
To request access to and seek the correction of personal information held by us, please email, call or write to us using the contact information listed below in the "How to contact us" section.
We will endeavour to respond to any access or correction request within 30 days of receipt.

If you would like any further information about our handling of personal information or to make a complaint about our handling of your personal information, in the first instance please email our Privacy Officer at privacy@essentialenergy.com.au or phone us on 132391. We will make every effort to investigate and respond to your complaint in a timely way (generally within 30 days of our receipt of the complaint).

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you may contact us further to advise of your concerns, which we will endeavour to respond to.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our investigation, you may take your privacy-related complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

For information on making a complaint to the OAIC, please visit the OAIC’s website, or phone 1300 363 992.

Privacy Officer
Essential Energy
PO BOX 5730
Port Macquarie NSW 2444
 
Phone: 132391
Email: privacy@essentialenergy.com.au

This privacy policy may change. Changes to the policy will be reflected on our website from time to time. This policy was last updated on 11 February 2019.