Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Newfoundland Power

November 9, 2017

The provincial government is open to exploring changes to privacy laws after a number of people complained about Newfoundland Power using their information without consent.

During Question Period on Tuesday afternoon, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons said he is open to look at changing laws.

"When we talk about something so important as power and people having access and being disconnected, it is something we take concern with," he said. "Happy to look at it."

The minister's comments came in response to a question from NDP housing critic Gerry Rogers, who took a stance against Newfoundland Power after a CBC News story last week.

Several people complained the utility company got hold of their private information without consent and used it to have their power disconnected.

In each case, the utility company called landlords and asked who was living in their rental units. When it was disclosed a person with an outstanding electricity bill was living on the premises, power was either cut or threatened to be cut.

Three people spoke with CBC News and said they were told their electricity would only be turned back on when the bill was paid or the tenant was evicted.

Newfoundland and Labrador does not have a law against this sort of disclosure, although Rogers said provinces like British Columbia and Alberta require the consent of the tenant before information is disclosed to a debt collector.

"As with any valid concern that's brought to my attention, or to our attention, we are always open to considering legislative reform and ensuring our laws are there for the best of all people in the province," Parsons responded.

Complaint filed with federal authority

Kate Underhill, who shared her experience with CBC News last week, has since filed a complaint with the Federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

She was living with her boyfriend in Mount Pearl up until last week, when Newfoundland Power disconnected their electricity.

Underhill owes just under $1,500 to the utility company, but said she is on a payment plan.

The couple's landlord disclosed the names of her tenants to Newfoundland Power without their consent, Underhill said.

Under the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), an organization is required to have consent before disclosing or using personal information. Both Newfoundland Power and a landlord would be considered organizations.

However, there is a clause that states an organization may disclose or use information if it is required by law.

Newfoundland Power said its regulations have the force of law and were approved by the Public Utilities Board.

Underhill believes her situation may violate a separate part of the act, which stipulates personal information may be used only for purposes "a reasonable person would consider are appropriate."

"We take the position that the way they collect, and use, the information about other occupants is not something a reasonable person would consider appropriate," the complaint reads.

A decision on the matter could take upwards of one year.


Electrician Forum Brought to you by Schneider Electric

As industry experts you know the products you use everyday better than anyone and should have input on what information you receive about products and what could improve them.

Therefore, we want your insight on the biggest challenges or issues you face when installing loadcentres, breakers (CAFI, GFI's…) and other surge protection devices. We ask that you do not provide product specific details but rather your general issues and concerns or any questions that have come to mind while working with these product types. Provide us with your valued expert insight into the issues you have faced so manufacturers can better inform you about the installation and use of these products. Lets generate some discussion that will help guide the Industry.

Make your comments  HERE

 

 

Cloud

There has been a lot of talk about cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models these days but both are relatively new to the lighting industry. Let’s take a look at what they are as well as their roles in commercial lighting.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of compute power, database storage, and applications via the Internet with pay-as-you-go or subscription-based pricing. Cloud computing means that instead of all the computer hardware, software, and data that you are using sitting somewhere inside your company’s network, it’s provided and managed for you as a service by another company and you access it over the Internet. 

Read More



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Jean-Marc Myette

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