VGS values our relationships with customers and their concerns about privacy. Our customers are entitled to responsible utility practices that respect customer privacy and keep customer data secure. This Privacy Policy describes the commitment VGS makes to its customers to securely manage customer use data and personal identity information (jointly “customer information”) and responds to common questions about our customer information practices.

VGS’s customer information is confidential and secure.

VGS considers customer information to be confidential information. VGS maintains and updates measures to protect customer information from inadvertent disclosure and secures access from unauthorized third parties. VGS will take reasonable steps to maintain the accuracy of customer information and to protect the identity of individual customers when aggregating customer use data.

VGS provides notice of its Privacy Policy.

This Privacy Policy notice is posted in a clear and conspicuous manner in a prominent location on VGS’s website. VGS shares our privacy policies with third-party vendors where appropriate to ensure protection of customer information. VGS will review our policies and practices regularly and update them, as necessary.

VGS customers have options.

VGS is committed to providing thermal energy services to all our customers, while encouraging decarbonization and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We provide our customers with access to information including available tariffs and rate structures, low-income assistance, weatherization services, energy efficiency opportunities, and the option to purchase renewable natural gas. As energy use technology continues to develop, VGS will keep its customers apprised of their options.

VGS appreciates when our customers announce their use of our energy services publicly through social media or otherwise. When customers do so, we may use that information in our own promotional material or reports, but we will not publicly promote a customer’s use in the absence of such advance or coordinated announcement.

What customer information is held by VGS?

VGS requires certain customer information to provide thermal and energy efficiency services, calculate bills, and receive payments from our customers. VGS collects this information and stores it in our Customer Information System or other internal systems. This information can include:

  • Name
  • Service address
  • Billing address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Historic usage data and estimated future usage
  • Account balance
  • Payment history
  • Enrollment in optional energy efficiency programs
  • Date of birth
  • Last 4 digits only of social security number, tax ID number, bank account number, or debit/credit card number
  • Communication history

Additional information such as complete credit card and banking information may be collected and held by external cloud storage providers.

How is the data used?

Customer information is used to create and manage customer accounts, provide safe reliable thermal and efficiency services, and explore additional ways to serve our customers. In the course of carrying out these functions, customer information may be provided to authorized third-party service providers who assist in these functions.

Some examples of how the data is used include:

  • Purchasing natural gas and renewable natural gas on behalf of customers from wholesale suppliers;
  • Distributing gas and other thermal services to customers’ homes and businesses;
  • Calculating customers’ usage for billing purposes;
  • Sending bills to customers and collecting payment;
  • Maintaining system stability and reliability;
  • Setting rates through regulated ratemaking proceedings;
  • Conducting research and developing new service programs; and
  • Promoting enrollment in additional services.

Who has access to customer information?

Access to customer information is granted to authorized VGS personnel and contractors. VGS personnel with access to confidential information operate under a policy that requires holding customer information in the strictest of confidence, including not discussing it with non-VGS persons or with other VGS employees except on a need-to-know basis. Authorized contractors are held to the same standard as VGS personnel in their management of customer information by the terms of their contracts with VGS.

Does VGS disclose information to an Energy Efficiency Utility?

VGS operates an energy efficiency utility (EEU) along with its distribution utility and thus the Privacy Policy stated herein applies to customer information of both the distribution utility and the VGS EEU.

The VGS EEU is required to share customer information with Vermont’s statewide EEU at Efficiency Vermont for collaborative purposes. Both VGS and Efficiency Vermont operate under an Order of Appointment issued by the Vermont Public Utility Commission that carries an obligation to keep all customer information confidential.

What happens if VGS experiences a data security breach?

In the event VGS experiences a data security breach, we will notify customers promptly upon notice of the breach. Depending on the size of the breach, we will provide notice to customers individually or through social media or other mass media sources.

Limited customer information is held on internal VGS servers. In the event VGS’s computer systems are breached, no complete credit card, bank account, or social security numbers will be accessible to attackers. If our external host experiences a security breach affecting customer information, the host will notify us immediately and we will provide prompt notice to customers.

Who can I contact with questions about VGS’s Customer Privacy Policy?

Please contact vgsregulatory@vermontgas.com or call (802) 863-4511.

This Privacy Policy is effective as of September 1, 2021 and does not expire until superseded.