CenterPoint Energy Privacy Policy

Thank you for visiting a CenterPoint Energy Web site. Protecting your privacy is important to us.  This Privacy Policy describes the types of personal information that CenterPoint Energy, Inc. and its various subsidiaries (collectively, "CenterPoint", "we" or "us") may collect when you visit CenterPointEnergy.com or other CenterPoint-owned/managed websites, or participate in the various programs we make available through these websites. In this Policy, we call these websites, individually or together, the "Site" for short. This Policy also describes how we use the information we collect on the Site, with whom we share it, and the choices you can make about our use of that information. We also describe the measures we take to help protect the security of the information and how you can contact us about our privacy practices. By using the Site, you agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy. Whenever you submit information using the Site or to the Site, you consent to the collection, use and disclosure of that information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.  

This Privacy Policy applies to the various programs, products and services we make available through the Site.  In addition, this Privacy Policy applies to programs, products and services CenterPoint makes available or may make available in the future through the Site in partnership with third party companies that are not affiliated with CenterPoint.  Sometimes those third party companies have their own online privacy policies that apply to those programs, as well.  You should always review those third party policies. This Policy does not apply to the TrueCost service or mytruecost.com. Use of the TrueCost site and products and services available through TrueCost is governed by the TrueCost Privacy Policy, which is available at mytruecost.com

This Privacy Policy applies solely to information that visitors provide through the Site as described above.  This Privacy Policy does not apply to other data we collected or that visitors or customers may provide to us through e-mail, telephone, in person or other means.

Here's a quick guide to this Policy. Click on one of the links below to jump to the listed section:

  • Information We Collect
  • How We Use the Information We Collect
  • Information We Share
  • Advertising and Third Party Tracking
  • Your Choices
  • Access and Correction
  • Data Transfers
  • What We Do To Help Protect Personal Information
  • Links to Other Websites
  • Children's Online Privacy
  • Updates to Our Privacy Policy
  • How to Contact Us

INFORMATION WE COLLECT

CenterPoint may collect information about you when you request or enter information on the Site to establish an account, register for and use "My Account Online," participate in any of the promotional and other types of programs that we make available on the Site, or in any other way utilize the Site's functionality.  We may also collect additional information about you on the phone, by email or in person, and from third party sources, and we may combine all or part of that information with the information collected on the Site.

  • The types of personal information we may collect about you on the Site include:
  • User name or ID and password for an account you establish on our Site(s)
  • Financial information
  • Data about your transactions with us
  • Your CenterPoint Energy account number, meter number and house number
  • Your ESI ID (this is your Electric Service Identifier, basically your electric service account identification number), and your energy usage information
  • Your friends' or family members' names and email addresses
  • Information about participation in our renewable energy, energy efficiency or energy conservation programs

From time to time, we may conduct studies that assist us in making your energy use more efficient. If you choose to participate in one of these studies, we may collect:

  • Energy equipment sales invoice information and details about your energy equipment, such as brand name, model number, your equipment dealer's contact details, etc.
  • Household information, such as the square footage of your home, the number of occupants in your home, the types of household appliances in your home, etc. 
  • Your household income
  • Your date of birth, gender and other demographic information
  • Other details about you and your family that you may submit to us

In addition, when you visit our Site or receive our marketing emails, we collect certain information by automated means, such as cookies, web beacons and pixel tags that may be placed and stored on your computer. A cookie is a small data file that writes to your hard drive for record keeping purposes when you visit the Site.  These automated collection methods allow the Site to measure traffic activity on the Site and to improve your user experience, for example by remembering your usernames, and viewing preferences. The information we collect in this manner may include your IP address, browser type, operating system, referring URLs, information on actions you take on our Site, dates and times of your Site visits and whether marketing emails have been received and read. We also obtain "clickstream data" using these automated collection methods, which is a log of content on which you click while browsing. As you click through our Site, a record of your action may be collected and stored. This data can tell us the type of computer and browsing software you use, the address of the website from which you linked to our Site, the pages and links you access on our Site.

The Site may offer interactive forums and functionality that allow users to voluntarily communicate through the Site. Please use caution when posting.  Any information you post to the Site using any such forums or functionality, including any personal information that you choose to post, will be shared with other Site users and can be read by other users of the Site and by the public on the Internet. When you post, your name is displayed along with your post. By posting you consent to allowing other users to access what you have posted and to see your public profile. The contents of your postings, and your linked profile, will be freely available to the public on the Internet. For more information about such interactive forums and related functionality, please carefully review our Terms of Use, CenterPointEnergy.com/en-us/corporate/legal/terms-of-use.

We may also provide social media features on the Site that enable you to share CenterPoint information with your social networks and to interact with CenterPoint on various social media sites. Your use of these features may result in the collection or sharing of information about you. We encourage you to review the privacy policies and settings on the social media sites with which you interact to help you understand those sites' privacy practices.


If you access the Site through social media platforms (such as Facebook), we may access and store information through an interface provided by the platform. We collect this information in accordance with social networks' terms of use or terms of service. 

Social networks operate independently from CenterPoint, and we are not responsible for social networks' interfaces or privacy or security practices. If you have questions about the security and privacy settings of social networks you use, please refer to their privacy notices or policies.

ADVERTISING AND THIRD PARTY TRACKING

CenterPoint may participate in online advertising networks and exchanges that display relevant advertisements to Site visitors based on their interests as reflected in their browsing of the Site and certain third party sites participating in the same networks and exchanges. These companies may use cookies, web beacons, pixels, embedded scripts, and other technologies to automatically collect information from you which may be used to help us compile website metrics and analytics and to tailor the advertising you see on the Site or elsewhere on the web. This means that some information about your browsing of the Site and certain third party sites may be shared with these companies for the purpose of delivering ads to you on the Site and certain third party sites, and CenterPoint may receive from some of these companies information about third party sites that you have visited. This information is used for marketing purposes and the practice is sometimes termed "retargeting" to indicate that information from one retailer is used to suggest to you relevant products offered by another retailer.

These and other third parties may also collect Personal Information about your online activities over time and across different websites when you use the Site.

This Privacy Statement does not cover any use of information that such third parties themselves may have collected from you (e.g., type of browser, operating system, domain name, day and time of visit, page(s) visited) or the methods used by the third-parties to collect that information (e.g., cookies, web beacons and clear gifs). You can learn more about opting out of network advertising and retargeting below in the "Your Choices" Section.

HOW WE USE THE INFORMATION WE COLLECT

We may use and share your personal information to deliver to you the products, services, or information you have requested or as otherwise directed by you. (The "Information We Share" section below describes how CenterPoint may share your personal information.)

  • CenterPoint may also use the personal information we obtain about you in order to:
  • Provide products and services to our website visitors and customers
  • Respond to questions and comments
  • Verify documents
  • Facilitate enrollment for our services and programs
  • Create and manage online accounts and profiles that you may establish on our Site
  • Send news and updates about CenterPoint and other communications (such as communications about products and services offered by third party vendors and service providers and our marketing partners) – specifically, we may use and share your information with third parties so that these third parties can send you information about third party products and services that may be of interest to you
  • Offer you products or services we believe may interest you
  • Communicate with you about, and administer participation in, special events, programs, surveys, and other offers and promotions
  • Operate, evaluate and improve our business (including developing new products and services; analyzing our products and services; managing our communications; and performing accounting, auditing and other internal functions)
  • Perform data analyses (including market and consumer research); and
  • Comply with applicable legal requirements and our policies, and enforce our Terms of Use, available at CenterPointEnergy.com/en-us/corporate/legal/terms-of-use/

In addition, by collecting information through cookies, web beacons and other automated means on our Site, we learn how to best tailor our Site for you and for other visitors. By collecting information through pixel tags and other automated means placed on the site visitor's computer and other automated means via email, we can communicate with visitors about offers and promotions and gauge the effectiveness of our content and communications. We may use cookies, web beacons and pixel tags to customize visits to our Site and deliver content consistent with our visitors' interests and the manner in which our visitors browse our Site. We may use IP addresses to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our Site. IP addresses and cookies are logged to track a user's session. This tells us the region our site visitors come from and indicate which parts of our Site users are visiting. We also may use IP addresses and cookies to help identify visitors to our Site for the duration of a session and to gather demographic information about visitors. We, and our CenterPoint affiliates, may use clickstream data including tracking online activity across CenterPoint affiliate websites to determine how much time visitors spend on each web page of our Site, how site visitors navigate through our Site, how we may tailor our Site, products and services to better meet the visitor's needs, and to market CenterPoint Energy affiliate products and services to site visitors.  Clickstream data also allows us and our CenterPoint affiliates to narrow or limit the advertising materials provided based on prior online activities or preferences.

We may also create other aggregated information records from personal information and use it in statistical analysis to help us analyze patterns in the use of our Site.

We also may use the information we obtain in other ways for which we will provide notice at the time of collection of information.

ADVERTISING AND THIRD PARTY TRACKING

CenterPoint may participate in online advertising networks and exchanges that display relevant advertisements to Site visitors based on their interests as reflected in their browsing of the Site and certain third party sites participating in the same networks and exchanges. These companies may use cookies, web beacons, pixels, embedded scripts, and other technologies to automatically collect information from you which may be used to help us compile website metrics and analytics and to tailor the advertising you see on the Site or elsewhere on the web. This means that some information about your browsing of the Site and certain third party sites may be shared with these companies for the purpose of delivering ads to you on the Site and certain third party sites, and CenterPoint may receive from some of these companies information about third party sites that you have visited. This information is used for marketing purposes and the practice is sometimes termed "retargeting" to indicate that information from one retailer is used to suggest to you relevant products offered by another retailer.

These and other third parties may also collect Personal Information about your online activities over time and across different websites when you use the Site.

This Privacy Statement does not cover any use of information that such third parties themselves may have collected from you (e.g., type of browser, operating system, domain name, day and time of visit, page(s) visited) or the methods used by the third-parties to collect that information (e.g., cookies, web beacons and clear gifs). You can learn more about opting out of network advertising and retargeting below in the "Your Choices" Section.

INFORMATION WE SHARE

We share personal information about you, as well as feedback you submit to us:

  • With third party service providers we have retained to perform services on our behalf, including billing and payment processing, and to provide you with a service or product that you requested;
  • With our affiliates;
  • With third party marketing partners for those third parties to send you, and/or your friends and family members, marketing communications about:
  • CenterPoint products and services; and
  • third party products and services, promotions and discounts unrelated to energy services that may be of interest to you or your family or friends;
  • As otherwise directed or requested by you in connection with your purchase or use of CenterPoint products and services or your participation in CenterPoint and CenterPoint partner programs;
  • As required by law or legal process, to law enforcement authorities or other government officials, when we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical harm or financial loss, or in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual fraudulent or illegal activity; and
  • In the event of a sale or transfer of all or a portion of our business or assets. Should such a sale or transfer occur, we will use reasonable efforts to direct the transferee to use personal information you have provided to us in a manner that is consistent with our Privacy Policy. Following such a sale or transfer, you may contact the entity to which we transferred your personal information with any inquiries concerning the processing of that information. 

We do not authorize our service providers or other third parties with whom we share personal information to use or disclose the information for any purpose other than the purposes for which we provide the information, as described above and below, or to comply with legal requirements.

It is important to note that third parties and their websites operate independently from CenterPoint, and third parties may use personal information in accordance with their own privacy policies. We strongly suggest you review the third parties' own privacy policies. We are not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of any third party websites that we do not own or control.  

YOUR CHOICES

We offer you certain choices about what personal information we collect about you, how we use that information, and how we communicate with you. 

You may elect not to have a unique cookie identification number assigned to your computer to avoid aggregation and analysis of data collected on our Site. To do so, you can normally configure your browser to accept all cookies, reject all cookies or notify you when a cookie is set. Each browser is different, so check the "Help" menu of your browser to learn how to change your cookie preferences. If you reject all cookies, you will not be able to use all CenterPoint services or functionality. 

Certain advertising networks and exchanges may participate in the Digital Advertising Alliance ("DAA") AdChoices Program and may display an Advertising Option Icon for interest-based ads. You can learn more about the DAA AdChoices Program here: http://www.youradchoices.com/. In addition, certain advertising networks and exchanges may participate in the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI). The NAI has developed a tool that allows consumers to opt out of targeted advertising delivered by NAI members' ad networks. To learn more about opting out of targeted advertising or to use the tool, click here: http://www.networkadvertising.org/choices/. Please be aware that, even if you are able to opt out of certain kinds of targeted advertising, you will continue to receive generic ads.

Note that your browser settings may allow you to automatically transmit a "Do Not Track" signal to websites and online services you visit. There is no consensus among industry participants as to what "Do Not Track" means in this context. Like many websites and online services, CenterPoint currently does not alter its practices when it receives a "Do Not Track" signal from a visitor's browser. To find out more about "Do Not Track," you may wish to visit http://www.allaboutdnt.com.

You can tell us at any time not to send you email marketing communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link within the marketing emails you receive from us.  This will not prevent or interfere with us sending you transactional emails about CenterPoint products and services. You may withdraw any consent you previously provided to us or object at any time to the processing of your personal information. We will apply your preferences going forward. In some circumstances, withdrawing your consent to CenterPoint's use or disclosure of your personal information will mean that you cannot take advantage of certain CenterPoint products or services. 

To update your preferences, ask us to remove your information from our mailing lists or submit a request, please contact us as specified in this Policy.  Please note that it will take us ten (10) business days to process your request to unsubscribe from our mailing lists.

ACCESS AND CORRECTION

You may obtain a copy of certain personal information we maintain about you, update that information, or correct inaccuracies in that information by using My Account Online. To help protect privacy and maintain security, we will take steps to verify users' identity before granting access to personal information. In addition, if you believe that the personal information we maintain about you is inaccurate, you may request that we rectify, complete or amend the information by emailing us at CenterPointEnergy.com/en-us/corporate/contact-us/.

DATA TRANSFERS

Our Site is a U.S. website governed by applicable U.S. law. When you provide personal information on this Site, we may process the information in the U.S. or outside of the country in which you are located.

WHAT WE DO TO HELP PROTECT PERSONAL INFORMATION

We maintain administrative, technical and physical safeguards designed to protect the personal information you provide against accidental, unlawful or unauthorized destruction, loss, alteration, access, disclosure or use. Your account and financial information is transmitted securely using encryption technology Please note that no electronic transmission of information can be entirely secure. We cannot guarantee that the security measures we have in place will never be defeated or fail, or that those measures will always be sufficient or effective.

LINKS TO OTHER WEBSITES

Our Site may provide links to other websites for your convenience and information or direct you to other websites when you participate in the various programs we make available through the Site. These websites may operate independently from CenterPoint and may have their own privacy notices or policies.  To the extent any linked websites you visit are not owned or controlled by CenterPoint, we are not responsible for the websites' content, any use of the websites, or the privacy practices of the websites.

CHILDREN'S ONLINE PRIVACY

Our Site is not typically intended for children younger than the age of 13.  On occasion we provide informational features for children, such as educational videos or online games that teach children about science and energy, but those features do not ask for personal information and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children younger than the age of 13.  If it comes to our attention that a child younger than 13 has submitted personal information to us, we will delete that information from our active records. 

UPDATES TO OUR PRIVACY POLICY

This Privacy Policy may be updated periodically and without prior notice to you to reflect changes in our information practices. We will post a prominent notice on our Site to notify you of any material changes to our Privacy Policy and indicate at the top of the policy when it was most recently updated. 

HOW TO CONTACT US

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy Policy, or if you would like us to update information we have about you or your preferences, please email us at CenterPointEnergy.com/en-us/corporate/contact-us/. You also may write to:

CenterPoint Energy, Inc.

P.O. Box 1700

Houston, Texas 77251-1700