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Privacy

About NIE Networks

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Limited (Company No. NI26041) (‘NIE Networks’) is the owner of the electricity transmission and distribution networks in Northern Ireland and the operator of the electricity distribution network which transports electricity to over 900,000 customers.

NIE Networks is committed to protecting your privacy and compliance, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK Data Protection Act 2018, ensuring your data is:

  • Used fairly lawfully and transparently
  • Used for a specified explicit purpose
  • Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and limited to only what is necessary
  • Accurate, where necessary kept up to date
  • Kept for no longer than necessary
  • Handled in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage

Our responsibility for your personal information

Personal information means, broadly, information that identifies (or that could, with other information that we hold or are likely to hold, identify) a living individual (‘personal information’).  This privacy statement (‘statement') describes how NIE Networks collects, stores, uses, shares and protects your personal information in connection with its business activities.  This statement is an important document because it explains the way that we use your personal information when you interact with us including, but not limited to, via our website (www.nienetworks.co.uk).  

The personal information we collect about you

Overview of why we collect your personal information 

We collect your personal information so that we can manage our relationship with you in accordance with our legal and regulatory obligations or tasks of public interest that have been delegated to us.  The business activities for which we require your personal information include:

  • Managing your electricity connection;
  • Managing the safe, secure and reliable operation of the electricity distribution network in Northern Ireland;
  • Developing, constructing and managing the electricity network in Northern Ireland;
  • Complying with the requirements of our licence, public tasks and other legal or regulatory requirements.

We ensure that the information we collect is appropriate to the purposes for which it is obtained.

Our legal basis to collect and process your personal information

We collect and process your personal information, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK Data Protection Act 2018, under the following legal bases:

  • Your consent, where appropriate, for instance when you contact us or subscribe to our newsletter;
  • Performance of a contract, for instance when we manage your electricity connection;
  • Compliance with a legal obligation, for instance when we are required to manage your electricity data or provide some information to public authorities;
  • To protect your vital interest, for instance if you register with our medical customer care register;
  • To perform a public task that has been delegated to us, for instance to manage the electricity distribution network in Northern Ireland and to comply with the requirements of our licence.
  • For our legitimate interests, such as when we contact you to participate in surveys or focus groups

Overview of the personal information that we collect

We may collect personal information about you whenever there is contact between you and NIE Networks.  For example we may collect your personal information:

  • When you contact us by phone, e-mail or post;
  • When you fill in forms either on our website or in paper copy.  Such forms may include connection application forms, meter reading forms, reporting a power outage form, feedback or comments on our performance and complaints; 
  • When you visit our website; or
  • When you contact us via social media websites, such as Facebook or Twitter

We may also obtain information about you from external parties, such as electricity suppliers, as part of the standard operations of the electricity market.

Please note that we will only use and share your personal information in such a manner that we reasonably consider necessary to provide our services to you and to comply with our legal and regulatory obligations (including as described in this statement or as otherwise agreed between us).

More detailed information on how we process your personal information is as follows:

Type of data Retention period Justification

Name, address, and in some cases your date of birth

For duration of your connection
 
  • Managing your electricity connection;
  • Managing the safe, secure and reliable operation of the electricity distribution network in Northern Ireland;
  • Developing, constructing and managing the electricity network in Northern Ireland;
  • Complying with the requirements of our licence, public tasks and other legal or regulatory requirements.
 
Electricity Consumption Data Duration of the Smart Metering Trial
  • Managing your electricity connection;
  • Managing the safe, secure and reliable operation of the electricity distribution network in Northern Ireland;
  • Developing, constructing and managing the electricity network in Northern Ireland;
  • Complying with the requirements of our licence, public tasks and other legal or regulatory requirements.
 
Information collected through general enquiries about your electricity connection Duration of enquiry +7 years
  • To ensure that we are able to resolve your enquiry
 
Requests for a new connection or to change to an existing connection Duration of connection +  7 years
  • To manage our relationship with you
Contacts due to an emergency or power cut 7 years
  • To resolve your issue and to provide the required support
Medical Customer Care register For duration of relationship +3 years or until you withdraw consent
  • To ensure we can provide extra support during a power cut
Data required for accessing, maintaining and replacing equipment on or near your property Job closure + 7 years
  • Managing the safe, secure and reliable operation of the electricity distribution network in Northern Ireland;
  • Developing, constructing and managing the electricity network in Northern Ireland;
Performing requirements for wayleave, lease or other agreement in respect of equipment on landowners’ property
 
 
 Until agreement is superceded
 
  • To ensure conditions of Wayleaves agreements are met by NIE Networks
  •  All NIE Title is kept indefinitely as there is no expiration date on the majority of these documents. Required to show what rights NIE have
Complaints 7 years
  • This data will be held for 7 years as a record of your complaint in case it is required for legal purposes
Opt out list for surveys and focus groups Until you opt out, or 7 years from when you cease to be a customer, whichever is sooner
  • To ensure that we do not contact you again for this purpose
  • To maintain records of when you opted out
Newsletter sign ups Until you revoke consent or for 7 years, whichever is sooner
  • To ensure that you are kept up to date with our newsletter
  • If you have revoked consent, to ensure that we do not contact you again
Call recording 2 years, unless we are required to keep them e.g. for a legal claim
  • For training and research purposes
  • For the purposes of an investigation
Supplier data For the duration of the contract
  • To ensure conditions of contract are met
Job applications 3 years
  • To process job applications
  • To enter into a contract with successful applicants
Information collected through web forms, e.g. application forms, meter reading forms, reporting a power outage form 7 years
  • Managing your electricity connection;
  • Managing the safe, secure and reliable operation of the electricity distribution network in Northern Ireland;
Website cookies For information about how long we store cookie data, please see our cookies policy
 

Your electricity connection

If you contact us with a general enquiry about your electricity connection.

We may collect your name, address, phone number and details on the nature and urgency of your enquiry so that we can respond to your query in the most efficient way. We rely on your consent for this processing.  This data will be held for seven years.

If you contact us request a new connection or change to an existing connection. 

We may collect your name, address, phone number, email address, details about your property, access arrangements and other site specific details, including photographs, so that we can deal with your request. We rely on the performance of our contract with you for this processing.  This data will be held for seven years.

If you contact us because of an emergency or as a result of a power cut

We may collect your personal contact details for the purpose of contacting and corresponding with you. We will also collect your address, including postcode, so that we can investigate and resolve the problem. We rely on our legal obligations and, where applicable, on protecting your vital interest for this processing.  This data will be held for seven years.

If you are on our medical customer care register 

We may collect your name, address, personal contact details and medical equipment details for the purposes of providing you with a quality information service during fault conditions. We rely on protecting your vital interest for this processing. This data will be held for seven years.

Collection of consumption data

If you choose to participate in the smart meter trial, NIE Networks will collect your name and contact details, as well as your unique Meter Point Registration Number (MPRN), data about your energy consumption and your network.

This information will be used to:

  • improve system operation, resilience and efficient network
  • explore the benefits of smart meters in Northern Ireland to both NIE Networks and the customer
  • evaluate the potential network and customer benefits that a wider rollout could bring
  • contact you about the trial

NIE Networks Infrastructure

If you have NIE Networks equipment on or near your property

We may collect, store and use your name, address and contact details for the purpose of accessing, inspecting, maintaining or replacing that equipment. We rely on performing our tasks of public interest for this processing. This data will be held for seven years from job closure.

If you are a landowner

We may collect, store and use details of your property, along with your name and personal contact details, for the purposes of performing the requirements of any wayleave, lease, or other agreement we may have with you in respect of any equipment placed (or to be placed) on your property. We rely on performing our tasks of public interest for this processing.  This data will be held for seven years from job closure. 

Customer feedback

If you have a complaint

We may collect your name, address, phone number and details of the nature of your complaint so that we can ensure that the handling, investigation and response to the complaint is managed in the most efficient way. Depending on your complaint, we rely on different legal bases to process your data. This data will be held for seven years.

If you agree to take part in a survey or focus group

We may contact you to ask if you would like to take part in a survey or focus group. If you agree, we will use the information you provide to gather views on a specific issue. We may also contact you with updates that relate to the focus group issue.  Please note, we may use a nominated research company to contact you on our behalf via email or telephone for this purpose but only to the extent needed to carry out the specific task to which you have agreed. Any invitations to participate in a survey of focus group are sent on the basis of legitimate interests, and your participation in surveys or focus groups is based on your consent.

If you do not wish to be contacted to participate in research or surveys, you can contact us by email. Your contact details will then be maintained in our opt-out register to ensure that we do not contact you again in the future. We will keep your data in this register for seven years, or until you contact us to ask to be contacted for this purpose again in the future.

If you are participating in a survey or focus group, you can access the associated privacy notice here.

If you sign up to a newsletter

We may collect your name and e mail address for the purpose of providing you with a newsletter about NIE Networks or connections.  We rely on your consent for this processing. This data will be held for seven years, or until you withdraw your consent, whichever is sooner.

Call Recording

When you contact us by phone, we may record calls for quality and training purposes, including:

  • to establish the existence of facts relevant to NIE Networks, e.g. keeping a record of a phone conversation to note verbal instructions or as evidence of a business transaction;
  • to ascertain compliance with regulatory practices or procedures relevant to NIE Networks, e.g. checking the business is complying with external regulatory guidance;
  • to ascertain or demonstrate standards which are, or ought to be, achieved by persons using the communications system, e.g. quality control and staff training;
  • to prevent or detect crime, e.g. to detect evidence of fraud or corruption; and
  • to investigate or detect the unauthorised use of the communications system or ensure the effective operation of the system, e.g. monitoring employee access to certain aspects of the system;
  • to ensure the effective operation of the communications system.

Call recordings are retained for a maximum of two years, unless we have a good reason to keep them, such as investigating a claim. Call recordings are available to a very limited number of staff and solely on an on-demand basis, for instance for training purposes or for the purposes of an investigation.

NIE Networks' suppliers

 

If you are a supplier (or prospective supplier) to NIE Networks

We may collect, store and use your personal and/or professional contact details (as well as contact details for any organisation that you represent) for the purpose of contacting and corresponding with you in relation to the services you supply to us. We may also collect your personal information through materials you may provide to us during the course of our contract with you, as well as your bank account and/or other payment details for the purpose of paying your fees. We rely on performing our tasks of public interest for this processing.  Data will be retained for the duration of the contract only.

Job applicants

If you complete a job application

As part of any recruitment process, NIE Networks collects and processes personal information relating to job applicants. We may collect your name, address, national insurance number and contact details, including email address, telephone number, details of your qualifications, skills, experience and employment history, information about your current level of remuneration (including benefit entitlements) whether or not you have a disability for which NIE Networks needs to make reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process and information about your entitlement to work in the UK. Equal opportunity and monitoring information is also collected for statistical purposes, although this not mandatory. We rely on the performance of our contract with you for this processing, as in the necessary steps to take in order to enter into a contract of employment with you, as well as your consent, where appropriate, and our legal obligations. This data will be retained for three years.

How long we keep your personal information

Personal information collected by us will be held for as long as it is required to fulfil the purpose it was collected and to protect our business and our rights.  We are required to keep certain types of information for a specific period of time in order to comply with legal requirements.  The length of time we keep any part of your personal information will depend on the type of information and the purpose for which it was obtained. Most of the personal information we collect is kept for one year and up to a maximum of 7 years depending on the processing. Sometimes, when involving construction matters, safety or connection issues, we keep the data up to 20 or even 40 years to comply with our statutory obligations.

For more information about our retention schedules and the period applicable to a particular processing, please contact us by email.

Who we share your personal information with

Sharing your personal information with third parties

In order to help us provide our services to you and in order to comply with our tasks of public interest or legal and regulatory obligations we may engage consultants, suppliers and contractors for any reasonable purposes connected with our business.  Consequently, we may need to share your personal information with those third parties to the extent they require such information to carry out their specific tasks.  In accordance with the requirements of data protection legislation, we have contracts in place with these third party providers to ensure that the appropriate controls exist with regard to the use and protection of your personal information.

Your personal information is stored within the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA).   It may occasionally be accessed or processed by staff operating outside the UK or the EEA, who work for us or for one of our contractors or suppliers.  When we transfer your personal information outside the UK or EEA, we take all required steps to ensure that your personal information is treated securely and in accordance with the data protection legislation and the requirements of this statement, such as requiring our third parties to sign Standard Contractual Clauses before proceeding to such transfer or relying on providers that have registered Binding Corporate Rules.
 

Other circumstances in which NIE Networks may disclose your personal information

We are regulated by the utility regulator who from time to time may request information from us that includes your personal information.  We take steps to ensure that any information shared by us is done so securely.

We may also disclose your personal information to other third parties (including your electricity supplier, the Department for the Economy and the Health and Safety Executive for NI) if we are under a duty to disclose or share that information in order to comply with any legal obligation, task or public interest or in order to enforce or apply our terms and conditions of connection, terms of use of system and/or other agreements; or to protect the rights, property, or safety of NIE Networks, our customers, or other third parties.

Providing information to NIE Networks about third paries

You should not give us personal information about someone else (such as alternative named contacts or next of kin) without first getting their consent for it to be disclosed and used by us.  If you provide such third party information we will assume they have consented, although we may still ask for confirmation.

How NIE Networks keeps your personal data secure

We are committed to applying the appropriate technical and organisational security measures to protect your personal information against unlawful or unauthorised use and against accidental loss, damage or destruction. We make sure our staff, and anyone with access to personal information, is trained on how to protect personal information.  We have strict confidentiality agreements in place with our third party providers (including data protection obligations).  We regularly audit our systems and processes to ensure that we remain compliant with our data protection polices and legal obligations.  

How to exercise your rights relating to your personal information

Under certain circumstances, you have a right to 

  • Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
  • Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below).
  • Object to processing of your personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes.
  • Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
  • Request the transfer of your personal information to another party.

In order exercise any of your rights regarding the personal information that NIE Networks  holds about you, please either write to the Data Protection Officer, NIE Networks, 120 Malone road, Belfast BT9 5HT or email including the following information:

  • Your full name;
  • A brief description of your request, and for exercising your right to access, the information that you are requesting, including a date range; and
  • Any email addresses (past and present) used to contact NIE Networks.

We may request further information to verify your identity, such as a copy of current and valid photo ID (e.g. Drivers licence) and/or a copy of proof of address (e.g. utility bill or similar) in certain cases, however we endeavour to collect the minimum amount of data required to validate your identity.

We will process your request within one month of verifying your identity, unless it is complex, in such case we will notify of our action within one month of your request.

You will not have to pay a fee to exercise any of your rights. However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances. If we refuse your access to personal information, we will explain the reasons in our response to you.

Withdrawing your consent

In the circumstances where we rely on consent to process your personal information, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.

In order to withdraw your consent from our communications, you can click on the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of our emails.

In any other circumstance, if you wish to withdraw your consent, please contact us by email.
Once we have received notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your personal information and, subject to our retention policy, we will dispose of your personal data securely. We may maintain records of when you have withdrawn your consent to ensure that we do not contact you again in the future.

Your right to complain

You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues. We would, however, appreciate the chance to deal with your concerns before you approach the ICO so please contact us in the first instance.

ICO contact details:
Email address: casework@ico.org.uk
Postal address: Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire,
SK9 5AF.
Telephone number: +44 (0) 303 123 1113
 
Data Protection Officer:
If you have any questions relating to this statement, or about how NIE Networks processes your personal information, please either write to the Data Protection Officer, NIE Networks, 120 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5HT or email us dataprotectionoffice@nienetworks.co.uk.
 

Changes to this privacy statement

Any changes to this statement will be posted on this website so that you are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it.  If at any time we decide to use personal information in a manner significantly different from that stated in this statement, or otherwise disclosed to you at the time it was collected, we will notify you by email, and you will have a choice as to whether or not we use your information in the new manner.