by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News
Alectra Utilities Manager of Communications John Friesen says the company doesn’t believe customer information has been released in the wake of the data breach.
“At this time, we are not aware of any customer information having been compromised,” said Friesen.
This comes after Hamilton officials, at the approval of councillors, announced Dec. 11 in a news release that “potential privacy breach” of customer information involving Alectra’s third-party vendors may have access to customer information involving water billing, addresses and tax assessment roll.
Alectra, in its statement, said the company will “continue working closely with city of Hamilton staff to resolve this matter.” The utility will also co-operate with any investigation by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The utility has also involved its privacy officer in the issue.
City officials state in the news release that it has “no confirmation” that a privacy breach has “actually occurred.”
Still, the city is informing residents of this potential privacy breach, and they “should continue to maintain their normal level of vigilance regarding their personal information.”
Hamilton councillors, after emerging from an in-camera meeting Dec. 11, voted 10-2 to release the information to the public.
Flamborough Coun. Judi Partridge said she voted against keeping the information secret because there was nothing in the report “that should remain confidential.”
Mountain Coun. Tom Jackson agreed, adding that council was informed about the possible data breach at the Dec 11 meeting “for the first time.”
Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Mountain Coun. John-Paul Danko opposed releasing the report.
There was no comment from Alectra’s Board of Directors, which referred questions to the utilities’ communications staff.
Hamilton has contacted Alectra officials and asked that “it take steps to review and disclose the details of the potential privacy breach.”
The city has also directed staff to inform the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario about the potential data breach.
Alectra handles water billing on behalf of the city of Hamilton for about 150,000 customers.
Customers can contact Alectra at 905-317-4781 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have further questions or concerns.