Thousands of customers of Xcel Energy in Minnesota and South Dakota had some of their personal information inadvertently released, the company said on Tuesday. Approximately 16,000 customers had information on their accounts printed on another customer's bill.
The information which appears on some bills dated Nov. 12, includes another customer's name, address, account and meter numbers. It also includes the energy used and amount owed, according to a press release from Xcel.
The company says it does not include any billing or payment history or sensitive personal or financial information, such as Social Security numbers or bank account information.
The Pioneer Press reports the error was made by Xcel's bill printing vendor. The company has also assured that no external or third party had accessed the records.
Xcel is apologizing for the mishap and is contacting each affected customer individually, according to a report by the Associated Press.
“We sincerely apologize to all customers affected by this error,” said Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. “Protecting customers’ information is of utmost importance to us. We value the relationship we have with customers, and it is important to us that we retain their trust. We are taking steps to ensure this will not occur again.”
The company is also changing affected residential customer account numbers. Business customers will be given the option of establish new account numbers.
Xcel has roughly 1.4 million customers in Minnesota and South Dakota.