City Utilities gives file of customer info to user with sign-in issue

A City Utilities customer who emailed the office for help received a spreadsheet filled with other customers' information.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) When a Fort Wayne City Utilities customer emailed the office for help, he got back more than he asked for.

The customer told us he had an issue signing in to his account on the city’s new utility page. When he asked for help, an employee sent him directions and a spreadsheet filled with other customers’ email addresses, account numbers and customer numbers.

The customer posted what happened on Reddit, along with a screenshot of the spreadsheet. The post has since been taken down.

The city issued the following statement in response to what happened:

City Utilities’ policy is to scrupulously protect confidential customer information.  We are aware that information was posted to Reddit by a City Utilities customer and we have worked with Reddit to remove the posting from their website.  City Utilities managers have spoken to the customer responsible for the Reddit posting to assure him that it is not the policy of City Utilities to release customer information.

The list did include some customer email addresses, but it did not include phone numbers, social security numbers or other personal information.  The list was accidentally released by a City Utilities’ employee who was attempting to assist a customer.  City Utilities administration has taken steps to ensure that a similar release of information cannot happen again.  Information security procedures are being reiterated to all City Utilities staff members who communicate with customers.”

The customer said he talked to a representative from the Utility Office and is satisfied with how the situation was handled.