|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
June 1, 2000
Mr. Leonard B. Smith
Dear Mr. Smith:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 136937.
The City of Cedar Park received a request for the names and addresses of "current account holders receiving water service from the city of Cedar Park." You seek to withhold the information responsive to the request under section 552.101 of the Government Code.
Section 552.101 requires withholding information made confidential by statute. Section 182.052(a) of the Utilities Code provides, with exceptions which do not appear to apply here, that a government-operated utility may not disclose personal information in a customer's account record if the customer has requested that the information be kept confidential. Section 182.051(4) defines "personal information" as "an individual's address, telephone number, or social security number." You explain that "all customers whose personal information is subject to . . . [the] request has [sic] requested that the City maintain the confidentiality of their personal information." Accordingly, you must withhold these customers' addresses. However, you must release the requested customer names because a name is not "personal information" and therefore is not confidential under section 182.052(a) of the Utilities Code.
This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code § 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. § 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. § 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. § 552.321(a).
If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. § 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ).
Ref: ID# 136937
cc: Mr. Mario Guerrero