Proposing New Value

Principle and Outline

The Daigas 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 businesses 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.

Wide Range of Pricing Plans

Pricing plans to suit a range of customer and societal needs

Osaka Gas offers various pricing contracts to match the gas equipment and volume of gas being used. Users of ENE-FARM, a residential fuel cell cogeneration system, and other specific equipment, such as a gas-based hot-water floor heating system, are offered a beneficial pricing plan according to the equipment type with the aim of encouraging the use of energy-efficient gas equipment. Further optional discounts may be applicable, as well, in combination with other gas appliances.

A large number of customers already take advantage of the “Motto Wari” discounted pricing plan for high gas usage.

Osaka Gas strives to offer optimal gas equipment and affordable pricing plans to meet the needs of customers and society.

Electricity pricing plans to match usage and lifestyles

Osaka Gas offers electricity pricing plans to match the usage situation of a range of customers. Basic Plans A–G are designed for customers with Osaka Gas contracts; a special household gas power generation plan is for customers who have adopted an ENE-FARM residential fuel cell cogeneration system; other affordable pricing plans are also available.

In recent years, various new pricing plans have been added. “Style Plans,” added in FY2019, are pricing plans for electricity charge selective according to the lifestyle and include “Style Plan P,” which gives access to the Amazon Prime membership program. “With Plans,” added in FY2020, are designed to support a happy and fulfilling life, including the beneficial “With Radiko Plan,” which includes Radiko Premium, a membership program provided by Radiko Co., Ltd. Such pricing plans offer convenience and affordability to support consumers’ lifestyles.

Providing Services to Customers through “Kurashi Plus”
Osaka Gas Service Shops

Building relationships with local customers and enhancing their living environment

  • “Kurashi Plus” Osaka Gas service shops are partner companies that serve as a bridge between Osaka Gas and local customers. Since 1955 we have been outsourcing gas service administrative functions to partner companies. These companies are able to provide a number of other services as well, including the sale and repair of gas appliances, bath, kitchen and other home renovations, and the sale of fire alarms.

    As of March 31, 2020, customers in our gas supply area are being served by 124 “Kurashi Plus” Osaka Gas service shops.
  • “Kurashi Plus” Osaka Gas service shops

    “Kurashi Plus” Osaka Gas service shops

New Services, such as “Raku-Toku Lease”and “Raku-Toku Warranty Service”

  • Osaka Gas offers an equipment lease system that allows customers to use the latest built-in gas cooking stoves and other gas equipment for a monthly leasing fee. This can be combined with a warranty service that covers the lease period of up to 10 years, during which time customers can take advantage of a free repair service and periodic inspections for their gas water heater, gas stove, and other equipment. These are affordable systems that allow customers to safely use and enjoy the latest gas equipment.

    Currently, approximately 55,000 households have signed up for the lease system and 680,000 for the warranty system as of March 31, 2020.
  •  New Services, such as Raku-Toku Lease and Raku-Toku Warranty Service

Services to Meet a Range of Customer Needs

“Sumikata Services”
A range of home repair and other services to support comfortable, safe living

Osaka Gas provides a wide range of services under the umbrella of “Sumikata Services” for residential customers that extend beyond gas and electricity to support for the comfort and safety of people’s home living environments.

Sumikata Services include plumbing repair, air conditioning repair, home repair, house cleaning, and other services as part of “Kaketsuke Service,” which involves the dispatch of personnel to the customer’s home. Other services include disaster-management and crime-prevention services covering gas alarms, fire alarms, home security, and more. For example, personnel from the Osaka Gas service chain, with expertise gained through the repair of gas equipment, quickly accept and respond to service requests to repair water-related problems in the kitchen, bath, sink area or toilet.

Also, for a small monthly charge, customers can sign up for “Sumikata Plus”, as over 370,000 households have to date, to be covered by two additional services—free troubleshooting, and lifestyle support.

IoT Service for Plants Launched

On April 1, 2019, Osaka Gas launched a news business that utilizes IoT to offer solutions that lead to higher plant productivity. In June 2019 we started providing this service to our clients.

Manufacturers face a wide range of issues, from how to improve quality and production efficiency to labor shortages due to the aging of experienced technicians. IoT can be a solution to these issues, but there are obstacles to its implementation, including high capital costs and lack of systems experts.

Osaka Gas has accumulated strengths in simulation and sensor technologies in the gas business, and it also has access to the Daigas Group’s skills in system development and data analysis. Making use of these advantages and further deepening its consulting sales activities at customers’ sites, Osaka Gas will offer IoT systems that resolve plant-wide issues for customers.

The new service is expected to minimize unexpected equipment failures by monitoring trends in equipment operation data, and maintain stable quality by checking processing conditions against product quality data. It has now become possible to digitize the know-how of skilled technicians, which also helps in passing on their skills.

By combining our own expertise with artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and other advanced technologies, we will continue to expand our services that are helpful for our customers to grow their business and to resolve any issues they may have.

■The concept of IoT Service for Plants
 IoT Service for Plants Launched (Image)

Useful ICT Services for Business Customers: “ekul” and “HelloOG!”

  • The Daigas Group offers various services to business customers (such as Eneflex and Motto Save) to provide a visual view of energy usage and energy-saving control capabilities using information and communications technology (ICT).

    In July 2016, we introduced a simplified data measurement service for business use—“ekul”—to provide a range of customers with a low-cost measurement service that alerts them to wasteful use, allowing them to take energy-saving measures that reduce costs. The “ekul” service uses wireless technologies and battery-powered measuring equipment to inexpensively and easily monitor gas and electricity usage and send the data to users in real time. The system can also measure such data as water usage, number of customers, temperature, and humidity for customers who are keen to see such information.

    Now, as a comprehensive energy provider, the Daigas Group has begun offering the “HelloOG!” member-only free service for sharing useful information gathered by the company with individual customers. “HelloOG!” was started as a service for restaurants and other businesses to be able to see their usage of gas and electricity and price information through an individualized information distribution system. Plans are in place to expand the service to other industries and give individual customers greater choice in the content and display of information.

    The Daigas Group will continue to propose optimal solutions to be the best energy partner for our customers.
  • ekul and HelloOG!

TOPIC: Ohgishima City Gas Supply Co., Ltd.’s city gas production and supply facility put into commercial operation

On April 1, 2020, Ohgishima City Gas Supply Co., Ltd., which is jointly funded by Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., JERA Co., Inc. and JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, started the commercial operation of its city gas production and supply facility (calorific value adjustment facility) in the Ohgishima area in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture.

This facility produces about 1.1 million tons of city gas per year using natural gas and LPG as materials. The city gas produced at the facility is mainly used by JERA as fuel for power generation at its Shinagawa Power Station and by JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy and Osaka Gas for city gas retail. The city gas produced there is also used as a material of hydrogen production in the hydrogen station project in the Oi area, Tokyo, in which JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy and JERA participate.

At this facility, JERA is responsible for supplying natural gas and operating the facility, and JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy is in charge of supplying LPG used for calorific value adjustment, while Osaka Gas provides support by imparting the know-how that it has so far accumulated about the operation of calorific value adjustment facilities. The facility is run and managed mainly by Ohgishima City Gas Supply, with the highest priority placed on safety.

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 began offering the “My Osaka Gas” website to household customers of our gas and/or electricity services. The website is designed to enhance customer satisfaction and convenience. The number of members reached 1.30 million as of December 31, 2019.

    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. Customers may also use an environmental accounting service to check household CO2 emissions or download the instruction manuals for our gas appliances. Registered members also can access Web content on energy and energy savings and can participate in a lottery to win gifts after collecting points earned from checking their gas and electricity bills.

    Customers who are contracted with Osaka Gas for electricity can access a “daily electricity report” to check on their daily and hourly power consumption. Also available is a power consumption alert system, which notifies customers via e-mail when their cumulative electricity consumption from the start of the month is likely to surpass or has surpassed the target level they have set. The “Shittoku Enekurabe” service allows customers to compare their own estimated power consumption with the average consumption of a similar household, broken down into categories by use—such as for air conditioning, television or lighting.
  • “My Osaka Gas” website for registered members

    “My Osaka Gas” website for registered members

  • * Use of gas and electricity by household customers
    Only customers purchasing electricity from Osaka Gas can access their electricity bills and their electricity consumption data.
Osaka Gas website

The Daigas 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.

In 2018, the Website's English pages for household customers were upgraded, while the Chinese-language site (written in simplified Chinese characters) and the Korean-language site were launched.

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 Daigas Group and relevant topics through the website, Facebook and Twitter.

TOPIC: Osaka Gas Wins 2019 CRM Best Practice Award

  • On October 29, 2019, Osaka Gas received the 2019 CRM Best Practice Award from the nonprofit CRM Association Japan, winning for the second consecutive year from FY2019.

    This award is given to companies who practice “customer-centric relationship management.”

    Osaka Gas has established a system for accumulating and analyzing customer data, forecasting customer needs based on the data, and sharing the forecast with the respective channels. The Company was selected for this award for the remarkable progress it has made in forecasts based on data analysis by introducing artificial intelligence (AI).

    We will continue to promote CRM* activities with the aim of becoming a company that can contribute to customers.
    • * CRM: Customer Relationship Management
  • Awards ceremony

    Awards ceremony

Co-creation of New Service Value with Scientific Methods

TOPIC: “RAMUNE” , a mobile app, released as the first actual business project from “TORCH” , a program for helping in creating new businesses

In 2017, Osaka Gas initiated a program named TORCH to encourage young employees to take the initiative in creating new businesses. To develop creative business ideas, program participants use “Foresight Creation” *, a methodology devised by the Research Institute of Behavior Observation of Osaka Gas. They present their business ideas at a contest with all employees as the jury, and if their ideas are highly rated, they will strive to commercialize the ideas in cooperation with those involved inside and outside the Company.

In February 2020, a team of program participants released RAMUNE, a topic sharing app developed jointly with GOCCO. Co., Ltd. RAMUNE is an app for posting and browsing light topics that give the users tips about how to refresh their minds and to add a joyful touch to their same old daily routine.

We will continue our efforts to develop human resources, mainly focusing on young employees, through TORCH and other programs to create new businesses beyond the framework of existing businesses.

  • * Foresight Creation: A methodology created and systematized by the Osaka Gas Research Institute of Behavior Observation to create new value, i. e. innovation.
RAMUNE, a mobile app for posting and browsing light, mind-refreshing topics

RAMUNE, a mobile app for posting and browsing light, mind-refreshing topics

Promotion and Support of Technological Development

Developing the “Digital Manometer WM-1000” , a new digital pressure gauge

In collaboration with Aichi Tokei Denki Co., Ltd., Osaka Gas has developed the “Digital Manometer WM-1000” , a new model of a digital pressure gauge used in airtightness and leakage tests for gas pipes.

The Digital Manometer WM-1000 is equipped with a Bluetooth wireless communication function, which enables users to operate the manometer and manage pressure measurement data via a mobile device, resulting in higher efficiency of work. It can also be used in combination with the GPS function and camera of the mobile device, helping increase traceability.

We will spread this device to gas operators around Japan to ensure that customers can use safe gas with a feeling of security. We will also further develop technologies for digital pressure gauges and other devices.

  • Main unit of the manometer

    Main unit of the manometer

  • Tablet

    Tablet

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.

  • The cart-type gas detector

    A new “cart-type gas detector”

  • Chart by GPS function

    Chart by GPS function

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 pioneered this approach since 2009. 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.

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. For 11 years after we launched full-fledged open innovation activities in FY2010, the total number of technological proposals we received amounted to about 6,500 by FY2020, of which about 430 proposals have been put into practice through new collaboration.

One example of the establishment of a high-altitude training studio with as high an oxygen concentration as 2,500 m above sea level. This project was implemented in a partnership between OG Sports Co., Ltd., a Daigas Group company, and a manufacturer with a technology of creating low-oxygen spaces. Another example is the use of drone technology for facility inspections. We thus create added value through the combination of in-house and outside technologies.

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 with R&D and creating new business.

■ How Open Innovation Works
How Open Innovation Works

TOPIC: Osaka Gas joins the investors in Igloo Energy Supply Ltd., a UK-based energy retailer

Osaka Gas has invested, through its UK-based subsidiary, in Lightbulb ES Ltd., which owns all the shares of Igloo Energy Supply Ltd. (hereinafter, “Igloo”), a UK-based energy retailer.

Igloo started its energy retail business in the UK in 2017 and currently supplies gas and electricity to approximately 110,000 households. This company provides various services designed to offer its customers greater convenience. For example, it recommends the optimal energy-saving equipment to each customer based on analysis of energy usage data. The company has also originally developed a mobile app for meter reading and gas and electricity charge payment. Igloo has also devoted efforts to enhancing its customer service functions, including a call center function and an online chat system, resulting in top-class customer satisfaction and a year-by-year increase in the number of customers.

In the UK, a leading country in the energy field that has deregulated the electricity market step by step since the 1990s, the recent accelerated introduction of renewable energy has heightened the need for demand-side energy flexibility. It is expected that the UK will see the expansion of the business of adjusting power demand and supply in the future. Igloo has also announced the policy of developing new services related to supply-demand adjustment for stable energy supply.

This investment marks Osaka Gas’s first participation in the household energy retailing business abroad. Through this investment, we will obtain knowledge about the advanced energy market and know-how about new services. From now on, we also aim to enter the energy market for the supply-demand adjustment business outside Japan.

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