CSR Charter Ⅰ Creating Value for Customers
Proposing New Value
- Principle and Outline
- “Make It Smart!”
- A Range of Gas Rate Plans
- Serving Customers through “Kurashi (Living) Plus Service Shops”
- Services Responding to Customers' Various Needs
- Website for Customers
- Behavior Observation: Boosting Service Quality through Science
- Promotion and Support of Technological Development
- Efforts for Tasty Food and Healthy Cooking
- Proposals of IT-based New Services
Principle and Outline
The Osaka Gas Group has supplied city gas to the Kansai region in a stable manner while branching out into peripheral business fields. By doing so, the Group has grown together with the region.
To make customers' lives and business more fruitful and attain sustainable development and growth that address the needs of the environment and society, the Group will create new value and provide a wider range of services and new technologies to customers in collaboration with various stakeholders.
“Make It Smart!”
Promoting advanced, environment-friendly natural gas business to help build a smart energy society
In January 2012, Osaka Gas adopted a new slogan: “Make it Smart!” This represents our desire to make living, the city and the future smart with natural gas, an advanced, environment-friendly energy source. This slogan also embodies our passion and commitment to ensuring compatibility between a comfortable life and energy conservation and contributing to building a low carbon society by promoting more efficient use of natural gas, an abundant and ecological energy source that also provides enhanced supply security.
A Range of Gas Rate Plans
Helping spread use of energy-efficient gas appliances
With the Gas-Toku Plan, customers get the best possible rate for the particular gas appliances they use. This special plan is aimed at spreading the use of energy-efficient gas appliances, and customers using specific appliances, such as residential cogeneration systems called ECOWILL, fuel cell-based household cogeneration systems called ENE FARM, and gas hot water floor heaters, get discounts on these appliances. Further optional discounts may also be applicable for the combined use of additional appliances.
As of the end of March 2017, 1.53 million households were subscribed to the Gas-Toku Plan, representing about 26% of the Company's total residential customers.
In April 2017, we started offering an additional discount service called “Motto Wariyasu” to large-lot household customers subscribing to a standard rate plan or an Ecojozu discount plan.
We will continue to propose optimal gas appliances that meet customers' needs, as well as reasonable rate plans.
Proposal of optimized electricity rate plans to reflect customers' power use
Osaka Gas offers several electricity rate plans to customers in accordance with their power consumption. The first plan, Base Plan A, can be subscribed to by any households as long as they receive electricity from Osaka Gas. The second plan, Base Plan A-G, is applied to households receiving a “Motto Wariyasu” discount plan, a “Yukadan” discount plan or a “House Air-Conditioning” rate plan, all offered under our Gas-Toku Plan. The third plan, called “Household Gas Power Generation Plan,” is applied to household customers using our fuel-cell cogeneration system “ENE FARM” or our gas engine cogeneration system “ECOWILL.” The fourth and fifth plans—Base Plan B and Base Plan B-G, are applied to customers receiving electricity from Osaka Gas under the basic B contract, including restaurants, merchandise shops and business offices.
Serving Customers through “Kurashi (Living) Plus Service Shops”
Forming ties with the customers in our community, bringing comfort to customers' lives
The “Kurashi (Living) Plus Osaka Gas service shops” partner with us to act as the contact point between Osaka Gas and its end users. Since the 1950s, these shops carry out a wide range of services including handling the sign-up for services, sales and repair of gas appliances, renovation of kitchens and bathrooms, and sales of things like home fire alarm systems. In FY 2010, these shops began selling photovoltaic power generation systems and offering the “Kuru Piko” service for dispatching staff to the site when gas leaks or fires are detected.
As of the end of March 2017, 105 Osaka Gas shops offered the “Kurashi Plus” service in the Company's gas supply areas.
Offering new services, including “Rakutoku Lease” and “Rakutoku Warranty for Hot Water Heaters”
Osaka Gas has provided services aimed at making customers' lives more convenient, including the “Rakutoku Lease” program and the “Rakutoku Warranty for Hot Water Heaters” program. The lease program allows customers to lease the most updated gas appliances and cooking stoves through monthly payments, without costly lump-sum payments. The warranty program guarantees free repair of gas water heaters, cooking stoves and hot water heating terminals, as well as their regular inspections for up to 10 years.
Both programs have received support from a large number of customers, with the cumulative number of subscribers to the lease program reaching about 36,000 as of the end of March 2017, and the number of subscribers to the warranty program about 560,000.
Services Responding to Customers' Various Needs
Launch of “Sumikata Service (Home Services)” Contribution to realizing a higher level of comfort and security in people's lives by combining various housing-support services with basic energy services to be provided to households
Osaka Gas launched a housing support service called “Sumikata Service,” which combines a wide range of housing-support services in addition to gas and electricity services to make a positive contribution to realizing a higher level of comfort and security in people's lives.
Provided under the “Sumikata Service” are housing maintenance and repair services regarding water-related facilities, air conditioning equipment, and other housing equipment and systems. Also offered are house cleaning services, housing renovation services, and housing support aimed at realizing a higher level of comfort and security. For example, in water-related facility repair services, Osaka Gas service chains act expeditiously in response to inquiries from customers, while applying the technological expertise acquired through the maintenance and repair of gas appliances to repairing water-related facilities including kitchens, bathtubs, bathrooms and toilets.
In fiscal 2018, Osaka Gas launched a new service called “Sumikata Plus,” which consists of the “Sumai no Kaketsuke Service,” aimed at responding to emergency housing needs, and the “Kurashi Ouen Service,” designed to support customers in their daily lives. Customers can receive such support services by paying fixed monthly fees.
Launch of “ekul” and “HelloOG!” services ICT service aimed at strengthening ties with corporate clients
Taking advantage of its information and communication technology (ICT), the Osaka Gas Group has offered devices and services that enable industrial/commercial customers to check and control their energy consumption and saving, such as “Eneflex” and “Motto Save.”
In July 2016, we began to offer the “ekul” data measurement service, whereby gas and electricity consumption are immediately measured and its information is simultaneously notified to the client, all aimed at reducing energy consumption and business costs, promoting labor saving, and in response to various client needs controlling energy consumption. With this service, the client can immediately know data such as gas, electricity and water consumption, the number of visitors to the client office, and weather information such as temperature and humidity.
As a comprehensive energy business, we also launched the “HelloOG!” information service in which Osaka Gas provide information that is seemingly useful to each client. The information is selected among its stockpile that Osaka Gas accumulated over the years. Members of the service can access useful information posted on the website, such as the amount of gas and electricity they have consumed and the rates thereof, free of charge. The information to be sent to clients will be expanded in the future aiming to appropriately respond to their need. We will continue to propose the best solutions to our clients as their good partner.
Website for Customers
Providing information deemed useful for people's lives through the website in an easy-to-see form
Website for registered members “My Osaka Gas”
In 2009, we opened the “My Osaka Gas” website for household customers receiving gas and/or electricity services from us. The website is designed to enhance customer satisfaction and convenience. The number of members reached 1 million in March 2017.
After customers sign up for the site, they can check online their gas and power* consumption, gas and electricity bills and service appointment dates, as well as various contract information. New additions are an environmental accounting book service to check household CO2 emissions and a function to download the instruction manuals for our gas appliances. Registered members also can access Web content on energy and energy saving and can participate in a lottery that presents various gifts after collecting points that are earned when they confirm gas and electricity bills. Customers receiving our electricity service can access the "daily electricity report," which allows them to check their daily and hourly power consumption.
- *Use of gas and electricity by household customers
- Only registered customers can access their gas and electricity consumption, as well as their bills.
Osaka Gas Website
The Osaka Gas Group uses various media to provide customers with a wide variety of useful information for daily life regarding energy saving so that they can use energy efficiently.
“Kashikoi Kurashi no Hinto Zukan” on the Osaka Gas Website contains a collection of hints regarding measures aimed at promoting energy saving at households and their expected benefits. Users of the Website can access the content of a guidebook called “Anshin Guide,” detailing how to use gas safely, which they are to receive from Osaka Gas staffers visiting their homes for regular safety checks.
We have set up an online site called Osaka Gas Report to deepen people's knowledge of Osaka Gas and increase their favorability of our company. Users of the service can access the most updated information about the Osaka Gas Group and relevant topics through the website, Facebook and Twitter. Click here for further information on the details of the "Osaka Gas Report." (Japanese version only)
Behavior Observation: Boosting Service Quality through Science
Use of behavior observation techniques in various surveys
Osaka Gas has been studying behavior observation as a methodology for business innovation. This methodology enables us to observe various situations from a broad perspective, analyze observation findings using academic knowledge for insight, and propose and implement solutions according to the insight. Behavior observation is mainly used to “create new value.”
Since commencement of the “behavior observation” business in 2005, we have launched a cumulative total of more than 1,000 “behavior observation” projects. Since 2015, we have undertaken such projects through OGIS-RI Co. In recent years, needs for “behavior observation” methods have been rising, not only in the field of research but also in innovative areas, including value-creation projects involving business managers for launching new businesses and the school operation business conducted using value-creation methods such as behavior observation methods.
Promotion and Support of Technological Development
Osaka Gas has developed a pipe locator, a device that can identify the location of underground gas pipes and other objects.
Osaka Gas and Fuji Tecom Inc. jointly developed a new model for the Pipe Locator,* a device aimed at detecting the location of underground gas pipes and other objects, for the first time in 11 years.
The new Pipe Locator is designed to identify the location of underground gas pipes more accurately and efficiently. The device is designed to confirm and detect the location of underground gas pipes, water pipes, electric cables and telecommunication line cables by magnetizing the search area. It is aimed at preventing such underground objects from being damaged while road construction involving ground drilling is under way. The newly developed Pipe Locator can even accurately detect the location of pipes with complex structures to be laid in different directions. In addition, the device can accurately detect only the targeted pipes in areas where many other objects are suspected to be buried.
Osaka Gas is calling for gas service providers, water supply companies, power suppliers and telecommunications service providers across Japan to use its Pipe Locator to ensure safety and security in its underground civil engineering work.
- *Pipe Locator
- Osaka Gas has the trademark right for “Pipe Locator.”
How to detect underground gas pipes using a Pipe Locator
Development of a new cart-type gas detector
Osaka Gas developed a new cart-type gas detector jointly with New Cosmos Electric Co., Ltd. The device is intended to detect gas leakage from underground gas pipes.
The gas detector, operated by hand, is designed to detect possible gas leakage by absorbing ground-level air. It is equipped with a GPS function, aimed at improving search-route tracing ability, and a warning system against the cart's use at excessive speed in order to secure an appropriate speed for accurate detection.
Osaka Gas is prepared to diffuse the newly developed cart-type gas detector to gas service providers across Japan as part of its efforts to ensure safe and care-free gas services. We will continue to work harder to develop even more upgraded gas detectors and other equipments for safety.
Technology development with improved efficiency through Open Innovation
Open Innovation refers to an efficient approach used to seek solutions outside the Company to technology development problems that Osaka Gas is unable to solve independently and to speed up technological development for higher efficiency. Osaka Gas has been using this approach ahead of our competitors since 2009.
To find outside partners to work with, we have revealed details of our technology to-do list, something we have rarely done in the past, in order to solicit promising technical ideas from outside parties. In FY2010, we launched full-fledged Open Innovation activities. During the eight years through FY2017, ended in March 2017, there were some 5,000 technology proposals, and we have commenced new collaborative projects on about 250 of them. Some of them have actually led to commercialization.
Our efforts have led to the building and expansion of a network of partnerships (Open Innovation Platform) with universities, public research institutes, small enterprises, large corporations, ventures and overseas companies.
The task ahead is to introduce some of the efficient technologies that we obtained externally through the Open Innovation Platform, and together with our alliance partners, actively move forward anew with R&D and creating new business.
How Open Innovation Works
Efforts for Tasty Food and Healthy Cooking
“Tasty Food Laboratory” set up in pursuit of Tasty Food and Health
In April 2013, the Energy Technology Laboratories of Osaka Gas set up the “Tasty Food and Healthy Cooking Laboratory” ( “Tasty Food Lab” ). This is intended to study how to maximize the taste and healthiness when heating foodstuffs.
The results achieved through the study are disclosed through the website, Facebook and the “Osaka Gas Report.”
Proposals of IT-based New Services
Efforts by Our Affiliates OGIS-RI Co., Ltd.
Agile Development to Speed Up Customers' Development Processes
OGIS-RI Co., Ltd., belonging to the Osaka Gas Group, was one of the first to work on agile development, in which software is completed early by delivering functional software successively during the development stage, and by incorporating customer feedback, conducting development risk management, and adapting to specification changes whenever the need arises.
In recent years, the market has been changing increasingly rapidly. New products and systems quickly become obsolete. Customers are busy looking for newer functions and mechanisms. If you take your time to bring a product or system to market carefully, as used to be done, you might find yourself in a different market environment when you complete it, and such cases are not rare.
To avoid this and to supply products that fit the times, agile development is outstanding because it enables the developer to deliver a functioning product quickly, although on a small scale at first, meet the latest needs without fail, and output the product or system early.
As a way of strengthening training courses for agile development, we have translated teaching materials developed by EBG Consulting, Inc. of the United States in July 2015. Using the Japanese edition of the training courses, we have begun to offer agile development training, making us the first Japanese company to do so. At the same time, we have joined hands with Kobelco Systems Corp. and Ad-Sol Nissin Corp. in establishing Enterprise Agile Benkyokai, an inter-team study group aimed at promoting information sharing regarding problems related to agile development and ways to solve them. In October 2016, the group published a book summarizing its activities, entitled the “possibility of agile development by enterprises and proposals to realize such development.”
OGIS-RI Co., Ltd. uses this agile development approach to support customers so that their businesses will adapt smoothly to rapid market changes and become competitive.
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award Given to Osaka Gas's Section Specializing in Data Analysis and Application for Contribution to the Development of Information Technology
In October 2016, Osaka Gas received a Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry award in the field of information and communication for its contribution to promoting information technology. The award is one of several awards given by six government ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, to a company or individual that has made a significant contribution to the development of information technology.
Behind Osaka Gas's latest receipt of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry award were activities undertaken by the Business Analysis Center (BAC) of the Company's Information Communication Systems Department, a sector specializing in data analysis and application. Using analyzed data, data experts at the BAC have teamed up with relevant organizations to streamline their business processes. The BAC is credited with establishing an efficient gas appliance repair system and an optimal facility operation system. Osaka Gas will continue to reform its management operations by actively using information technology.