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Privacy Policy

This notice outlines how Electricity North West and Explain Market Research use your personal data when you sign up to, and participate in the Plugging In community.


 “Content” means everything contained in, or accessible from, the online Community which has been produced by or on behalf of Electricity North West. “Content” does not include Postings made by members.

“Electricity North West Sub-contractors” means any sub-contractor or agency that has been formally tendered to Electricity North West.

“Website” means the website which hosts the Community. These terms and conditions only apply to the website which hosts the Community.

 “You”, “your” and “yours” refers to you, the person using the Plugging In Community.

Electricity North West has commissioned Explain Market Research (an independent market research agency to build and manage this research community on their behalf.

Explain only collect the minimum amount of personal information that is necessary to fulfill the purpose of your interaction with us. We do not sell it to third parties, and we only use it as this Privacy Notice describes.

When we do so, we are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation which applies across the European Union (including the United Kingdom) and we are responsible as “controller” of that personal information for the purposes of those laws.

If you register and create an account, we require some basic information at the time of account creation. You will create your own username and password, and we will ask you for a valid email address. We need this information to create your account, and to be able to identify you on the Plugging In community. We will also ask for further profiling information such as gender, date of birth and profession, etc. The collection of such data is used for research purposes and to simply inform Electricity North West about the demographics of their members.

Only your username and self-selected photo will be shared with other users; please do not use your email address and we strongly  recommend that you choose a username which is not linked to your own name, and that you do not include any personal information in your postings.

We will use your email address to communicate with you, in terms of updating you when there is new content on the community, with opportunities to take part in market research or other topics related to the Plugging In community, such as if you are one of our prize draw winners.

We have a legitimate interest in processing such personal information for promotional and / or communication purposes.  This means we do not usually need your consent to send you such information.  However, where consent is required we will ask for this consent separately and clearly.

In running and maintaining this community we may collect and process the following data which is collected by Explain Market Research and shared with Electricity North West:

  •           Information provided voluntarily by you. For example, when you complete your user profile or participate in community content
  •             Information about your use of our site including details of your visits such as pages viewed and the resources that you access. Such information includes traffic data, location data and other communication data
  •             Your email address and how you use your emails - for example whether you open them and which links you click on
  •          Information that you provide when you communicate with us by any means

 Use of your information

Data can be viewed by authorised persons within Explain Market Research and Electricity North West to:

-         Improve the site by monitoring how you use it

-         Gather feedback to improve our services

-         Respond to any feedback you send us, if you’ve asked us to

-         Send communication emails to users relating to the Plugging In community, including but not exclusive to; new content, prize draw information, changes to Community terms and conditions and privacy notice, and user account queries.

Any personal data collected by Explain when you join the Plugging In community, such as the first half of your post code and email address, cannot be accessed by Electricity North West. Electricity North West can view your interactions linked with your username and other profiling information, such as length of time as a Ministry of Electricity North West employee. Any contribution that you make to the community, such as commenting on posts or creating discussions can be seen with your username attached by other members of the community, including Ministry of Electricity North West staff members. You can use the ‘anonymous’ option to contribute to the community without your username attached, in which case other members of the community and Electricity North West will not be able to view this linked to your username. Please see Help and frequently asked questions for how to comment and use the anonymous setting.

Please see Terms and conditions for more information on how we will use the information.


A cookie is a small data file that’s stored on your computer. It contains the address of the Website and codes that your browser sends back to the Website each time you visit a page there. Cookies may contain limited personal information, for example to remember your username when you re-visit.

The Website uses four cookies. The first cookie is a 'session' cookie, which is essential for the activation of the page and is deleted when your browser is closed.

The second cookie is for Google Analytics. Google analytics is optional for Explain’s website, if you would like information on Google Analytics cookies and how to update your preferences, please visit:

The third cookie is contained within the ‘cookie banner’ which appears when you visit the Explain website. This cookie is used to remember when you have clicked on the cookie banner to accept the use of cookies on the Website, so that you are not shown the cookie banner the next time you access the Explain website through the same device. This cookie remains active on your device for 12 months.

The fourth cookie is called comm_login which becomes active when you select the “keep me logged in” checkbox on any device. The cookie stores a hashed token for 60 days which will keep you logged in on that device for that period.


You can unsubscribe from the Plugging In or delete your user account at any time by clicking here and selecting ‘Leave the community’.

Explain will keep your personal information for as long as you are a member of the Plugging In Community. Thereafter, Explain will keep your personal information for 3 months:

  • to respond to any questions, complaints or claims made by you or on your behalf;
  • to show you that Explain acted fairly;
  • to keep records required by law.

Explain will not retain your personal information for longer than necessary for the purposes set out in this Privacy Notice.

When it is no longer necessary to retain your personal information Explain will delete it or anonymise it.

Where your data is stored

Personal data provided by you on sign up will be stored electronically in secure servers within the UK. Your data is stored on our Microsoft SharePoint servers.

The company we use to develop and host our community platform is bound by a contract that ensures your data is managed in accordance with UK Data Protection laws and that it acts only on Explain Market Research instructions and implements all technical measures necessary on an ongoing basis to keep your personal data secure.

If you have any queries or complaints about the way your data is handled please contact Explain using the details below. You can also request a copy of the data held on you using these details.

Your rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation, you have rights as an individual which you can exercise in relation to the information Explain and Electricity North West hold about you.

You can read more about these rights here –

Access to personal information

Explain tries to be as open as it can be in terms of giving people access to their personal information. Individuals can find out if Explain hold any personal information by making a ‘subject access request’ under the General Data Protection Regulation. If Explain does hold information about you Explain will:

  • give you a description of it;
  • tell you why Explain are holding it;
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to; and
  • let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.

To make a request to Explain for any personal information Explain may hold, you need to put the request in writing addressing it to the address provided below;

Data Protection Lead

Explain Market Research Ltd

48 Leazes Park Road

Newcastle upon Tyne



If Explain do hold information about you, you can ask Explain to correct any mistakes or erase your data by, once again, contacting the address above.

Similarly, if you would like to access personal information Electricity North West hold about you as a member of the Community, you can download and print a data subject access request form or contact Electricity North West directly with all the information asked for on the form.

Further information on Electricity North West privacy notice can be found here.