A former senior database administrator at a Houston electricity provider was sentenced Tuesday to one year in prison for hacking into his former employer's computer network, the US Department of Justice said.

Steven Jinwoo Kim, 40, of Houston, pleaded guilty on Nov. 16 to one count of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and recklessly causing damage. Kim had worked at Gexa Energy until February 2008, when he was fired as senior database administrator, the DOJ said in a press release.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vanessa Gilmore of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ordered Kim to pay US$100,000 in restitution to Gexa Energy.

On April 30, 2008, after he was fired, Kim used his home computer to connect to Gexa's computer network and to a database containing information on about 150,000 Gexa customers, the DOJ said. Kim damaged the computer network and the database in the process, the DOJ said.

Kim also copied and saved to his home computer a database file containing personal information on the Gexa customers, including their names, billing addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and drivers license numbers. Kim's actions caused a $100,000 loss to Gexa, the DOJ said.