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Special Feature 2 : Constructing resilient infrastructure for disaster-resistant urban development

Gas contributes to the development of stronger and more resilient infrastructure.

Cogeneration systems help to provide emergency power in a disaster

During the large-scale power failure that occurred in the typhoon in September 2018, gas cogeneration systems such as our self-sustaining Ene-Farm continued to generate power. This made it possible for our customers’ homes and factories to remain powered with electricity. This has renewed the focus on cogeneration as a solution.

It is essential that infrastructure function as expected even during a large-scale disaster. In response to this expectation, seismic retrofitting of equipment is required in order to contribute to disaster-resistant urban development.

With respect to gas supply facilities, we take preventive measures to minimize the damage by putting human life as a top priority. In addition, we are working to improve resilience, focusing on emergency measures such as the stop of gas supply for the purpose of ensuring safety and the development and introduction of systems for early recovery.

Realizing the great potential of the map information systems maintained by our energy business

Following the Northern Osaka Prefecture Earthquake that struck on June 18, 2018, an emergency gas shutdown was implemented for safety reasons. This affected about 112,000 households mainly in the cities of Takatsuki and Ibaraki, both of which recorded a seismic intensity of “6 lower,” a level of an earthquake defined as “Difficult to keep standing” according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

During the recovery process, about 5,100 people participated in the restoration effort, including employees of gas providers from across the entire country. As a result, the gas supply was restored to customers on June 24. In addition, the Recovery Visualization System introduced in April enabled the Company to disseminate detailed recovery information and ensure good communication and cooperation with customers and administrators.

Contributing to the SDGs

Contributing to the SDGs

Solutions and initiatives

Recovery task work

Utilizing our disaster recovery support system in the society

The tasks that make up restoration work include the following: Closing the metered gas valve at the customer’s residence; searching for gas leaks in the gas pipes and repairing any leaks found; visiting the customer’s house and confirming the safety of the gas facilities; and opening the metered gas valve to resume the gas supply. In this process, it is necessary for the customer to be at home. Until this earthquake, only text information such as press announcements and simple map information were provided to inform the recovery status of gas supply. Therefore, there was an urgent need to develop a system that could provide customers with quick and accurate information and resolve any concerns about recovery.

In response to this situation, we developed the Gas Recovery Visualization System to provide detailed information to the public. This system displays the status of recovery on a map created by linking information through the centralized “Bridge” disaster recovery support system, which Osaka Gas built to improve the efficiency of recovery work, with detailed map information.

During a disaster, Japan’s Information Support Team (ISUT) organized by the Cabinet Office uses this system as a “disaster response support map” by accumulating information on shelters and sharing it with organizations that take action during times of disaster. It is also used for bathing support activities provided by the Self-Defense Force.

Developer Interview : Focusing on an easy-to-use Gas Recovery Visualization System. Shota Kotake. Disaster Response and Supply Team Central Control Room Network Company Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.

Information on the status of recovery of the gas supply often uses somewhat vague descriptions of areas such as “part of Town X” because the gas conduit network spans multiple administrative districts. As a result, customers do not really know when their own gas service will be restored. We realized that if we could provide a detailed map with specific information about our restoration work schedule, customers might become more at ease. Equally important, we could ask customers to remain at home to be prepared for the inspection that is required before the gas supply can be restored.

Gas Recovery Visualization System

Gas Recovery Visualization System

Considering the large number of customers who own smartphones or have other such connections to the Internet, we set out to create a means of disclosing the progress of the restoration process by providing a map with color-coded addresses. We also wanted to display the predicted times for an inspection visit and scheduled return to operation. We named this innovation the Gas Recovery Visualization System and provided a link to it on our disaster-response website.

After the 2018 Northern Osaka Prefecture Earthquake struck, access to this website increased sharply after we sent out a tip on social media introducing the site: “Useful restoration information using maps is available on the Osaka Gas website.” Over several days thereafter, the site was accessed up to 260,000 times daily, and we received many messages indicating the site was very helpful.

We developed the website with the same ease of use as general mapping software in order to make it easy to understand. This system proved to be very useful for customers awaiting restoration of their gas service.

By utilizing the technology of the Daigas Group to meet the needs of individual customers and society at large, we are contributing to the emergence of a society that is resilient to disasters.

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