Tokyogasgroup csr report

Enhancement of Energy Security

Enhancing the Safety of Gas Appliance Products

Tokyo Gas engages in all kinds of activities to ensure that customers can be confident of the safety of gas equipment and appliances, both from a hardware aspect and from the services we provide. These efforts include performing periodic safety inspections of gas equipment in accordance with the Gas Business Act, as well as providing information and raising awareness among our customers and appliance manufacturers regarding the safe use of gas.

Enhancing the Safety of Gas Appliance Products

The revised Consumer Product Safety Act came into effect in May 2007. In response, the Voluntary Action Plan of Tokyo Gas Concerning Product Safety was developed to help us fulfill our responsibilities as a company that sells, repairs, and installs home gas appliances by ensuring product safety, while also developing a culture of product safety.

In line with this Action Plan, the Group is working to ensure and enhance safety in order to meet the demands and expectations of society. In conjunction with these efforts, we publish important announcements concerning home gas appliances on our website. Our aim is to create a culture of safety regarding gas appliances by, for example, promptly providing accurate information to customers on the correct use of their gas appliances and on product recalls and defects to ensure that they can use home gas appliances safely and with confidence.

The Group will continue to take swift and appropriate steps to further enhance the safety and quality of gas appliances in keeping with our core values of "Safety, Security, and Reliability."
 

Voluntary Action Plans of Tokyo Gas Concerning Product Safety (established November 7, 2007)

Tokyo Gas defines the following Voluntary Action Plans to not only ensure product safety but also to establish a culture of product safety, thereby strengthening our group values of "Safety, Security, and Reliability," and supporting our role as a company that sells, repairs, and installs home gas appliances.

1.Compliance with laws

We shall comply with laws and regulations concerning product safety, formulate in-house voluntary standards for repair and installation work, and strive to ensure product safety.

2.Establishment of a product safety promotion system

We shall improve our company's product safety promotion system to ensure product safety.

3.Risk reduction of product-related accidents

We shall contribute toward reducing the risk of product-related accidents by sending feedback on product-related accidents and problems that come to our attention to the manufacturers and importers of gas appliances.

4.System for collecting and transmitting information on product-related accidents

If we learn of a product-related accident, the information shall be promptly forwarded not only to senior management, but also to related departments in the company, as well as to the manufacturers and importing companies.

5.Maintenance and enhancement of product safety

We shall promote awareness and disseminate information to our customers on the proper use of gas products, provide follow-up to questions from customers on product safety, and commit to the cultivation of a culture of product safety.

6.Cooperation with manufacturers and importers

When manufacturers or importers recover products due to recalls or other reasons, we shall cooperate with them to facilitate smooth product recovery.

DFF Inc., Corporate Social Responsibility Sect, General Administration Dept., Corporate Planning Dept., Resources & Global Business Division, Energy Solution Div, Power Buisiness Dept., Pipeline Network Division, IT Division, Residential Sales Div., Fundamental Technology Dept., Energy Solution Div, Environmental Affairs Dept., Purchasing Dept. , Health Insurance & Employees' Welfare Sect., Personnel Dept., Internal Audit Dept., Audit & Supervisory Board Member's Office, Compliance Dept., Regional Development Div., Finance Dept, TGES, TOKYO GAS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

Development of Safer, More User Friendly Gas Appliances and Systems

Improving gas appliance quality
We established a dedicated unit to address quality issues in order to quickly identify and address the causes of faults and accidents involving gas appliances nationwide, and we stepped up action on quality by setting up a new response unit in April 2011.
If we judge that the technical cause of a fault needs to be determined, we immediately provide feedback to gas appliance manufacturers so that we can work together on identifying the cause and, where necessary, modifying specifications to deal with the issue.
If an accident involving a gas appliance occurs, we work with gas manufacturers to swiftly analyze the cause and formulate countermeasures in order to assuage customer concerns.
We also share the knowledge gained from investigations of the causes of faults and analyses of data on past repairs with other gas utilities and appliance manufacturers so that the information can be used to prevent new products from being affected and to raise quality levels. As an example of the ongoing action we are taking to raise safety levels, all balanced-flue bath boilers sold since April 1, 2011, have incorporated functionality to prevent erroneous ignition and users from forgetting to turn off the boiler as standard equipment. Some models also have added functionality to alert the user (either by a control lamp that lights up or an error message displayed on the remote control) when an appliance has exceeded its design life and needs to undergo periodic inspection.

All cooking stove burners fitted with sensors

The gas industry (gas energy suppliers, gas appliance manufacturers, and distributors) has voluntarily made it a standard requirement that all burners on all home gas cooking stoves (except single-burner tabletop stoves) made since April 2008 should be fitted with safety sensors to prevent overheating of cooking oil, safety devices to detect flame failure, and self-extinguishing functionality in order to make them even safer. Stoves of this kind have been dubbed "Si" sensor-equipped cooking stoves in order to help raise awareness of gas cooking stove safety.

The Gas Business Act was subsequently revised some months later in October 2008 to require that stoves also be fitted with sensors to prevent overheating of cooking oil and to detect flame failures.

In March 2008, even before the law was amended and the industry had adopted the above voluntary standard, we began fitting all our gas cooking stoves (except single-burner tabletop stoves) with "Si" sensors. We had sold a total of around 1.67 million such appliances by the end of March 2017.*1

We recently added further safety functions to our high-end models, including a pan detection function that automatically lowers the flame when a pan is removed from the burner in order to reduce the risk of a user accidentally setting his or her clothing alight.
*1 Excluding single-burner tabletop cooking stoves.

Development of more advanced alarms

To ensure that customers can use gas safely and securely, we are developing combined home fire, gas, and carbon monoxide alarms and home fire alarms.

We developed an alarm that combines the ability to detect fires, gas leaks, and carbon monoxide resulting from incomplete combustion in the one unit. When the device is triggered, it emits an alarm sound and voice alert. This unit went on sale in 1999.

We continue to expand our lineup of alarms. In February 2010, we launched a battery-powered indoor fire alarm with a battery life of 10 years, and we have also launched a wireless networked fire alarm system that wirelessly activates the system's other alarms when the alarm at the site of a fire goes off.

Since 2006, we have been conducting R&D on power-saving gas sensors, resulting in the launch in October 2015 of a super low power battery-powered home gas and carbon monoxide alarm.

Combined home fire, gas, and carbon monoxide alarm
Combined home fire, gas, and carbon monoxide alarm


Development of domestic ultrasonic gas meter and PHS communication terminal for Residential Monitoring
Domestic gas meters not only measure customers' gas consumption but also contribute to safety by monitoring gas usage. Hence they are known as "smart meters."*2
Working with Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., Toho Gas Co., Ltd., and appliance manufacturers, we have developed a new kind of "ultrasonic" gas smart meter for installation mainly in homes that uses an ultrasonic sensor to measure the flow of gas. As ultrasonic gas smart meters are extremely simple in construction and have no mechanical moving parts, they are much more compact than conventional diaphragm gas meters. In fact, they can pack the same functionality as a conventional diaphragm gas meter into a device that is around one third of the size and weighs half as much as a conventional meter, making them more visually attractive and also installable in a wider range of locations.
We have also developed a PHS device that will run for at least 10 years on three lithium batteries (2,400 mAh, 3 V) to function as a wireless terminal for our Residential Monitoring Services, which is a remote gas shutoff and monitoring service that we provide to residential customers. Use of a PHS communication terminal allows stable service to be provided to customers without relying on a landline connection.
We launched the first-generation ultrasonic gas meter equipped with communications functionality as well as conventional safety functions in July 2005, followed by a second-generation model boasting more advanced communications functionality at the end of 2010. A considerably more cost-effective third-generation model began to be rolled out on a pilot basis in the second half of fiscal 2016, and approximately 760,000 ultrasonic gas meters were in use as of the end of fiscal 2016. Installation of PHS communication terminals has also been underway since December 2012, and approximately 180,000 were in use as of the end of fiscal 2016. We are now developing the technologies needed to introduce new smart meters from fiscal 2018 with the aim of using these to provide various other services to go alongside our automatic meter-reading and Residential Monitoring Services.
*2 Gas meters equipped with embedded safety devices and microcontrollers.

Ultrasonic gas meter (top) and PHS communication terminal (bottom)
Ultrasonic gas meter (top) and PHS communication terminal (bottom)


Development of multistage radio relay transceiver
Working with Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., Toho Gas Co., Ltd., and appliance manufacturers, we are developing a multistage radio transceiver that relays residential gas meter readings and other data through multiple meters. Signals are sent and received between transceivers intermittently once every five seconds instead of continuously, which conserves power. Thus, despite being battery powered, the transceiver can run for as long as 10 years. The problem with conventional transceivers was that their communication range was limited to the reachable range of radio. It meant they could only be used in buildings of five stories or less where radio waves could reach meter readers standing on the ground. Long communication time was also an issue. However, as this new transceiver is capable of transmitting data by multistage relay, it allows meters to be read wirelessly in commercial buildings and housing complexes of six stories or more.
We initiated wireless reading of meters in our own Tokyo Gas employee housing on May 7, 2014. In April 2017, we also began using this wireless technology for our My Tsuho service for apartment owners. This makes it possible to reliably capture data on such things as gas meter readings at residences where PHS reception is poor, thereby allowing service provision to be extended to large apartment buildings.

A multistage radio relay transceiver
A multistage radio relay transceiver

Network overview

Network overview

DFF Inc., Corporate Social Responsibility Sect, General Administration Dept., Corporate Planning Dept., Resources & Global Business Division, Energy Solution Div, Power Buisiness Dept., Pipeline Network Division, IT Division, Residential Sales Div., Fundamental Technology Dept., Energy Solution Div, Environmental Affairs Dept., Purchasing Dept. , Health Insurance & Employees' Welfare Sect., Personnel Dept., Internal Audit Dept., Audit & Supervisory Board Member's Office, Compliance Dept., Regional Development Div., Finance Dept, TGES, TOKYO GAS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

Encouragement of Switchover to Safer Appliances

Since January 2007, we have been working to promote the switchover to safe appliances. For example, we have been encouraging customers who have water heaters and bath water heaters that are not equipped with incomplete combustion avoidance devices to switch to using safer appliances as soon as possible by sending them direct mail and explaining the benefits of switching during periodic safety inspections of their gas equipment. In fiscal 2016, we continued to promote the replacement with safer models of the following devices that are not equipped with incomplete combustion avoidance devices: small water heaters, wire mesh stoves, conventional flue type water and bath water heaters, and forced exhaust type water heaters (with downdraft diverters). As a result, the number of appliances in our service area that we have targeted for replacement decreased from about 160,000 at the launch of the initiative to 18,417 at the end of March 2017.
We will continue to encourage customers to switch to using safer models and work to steadily improve safety, thus ensuring that our customers can feel secure in using their gas appliances.
If an owner of an appliance such as a water or bath water heaters that is not equipped with an incomplete combustion avoidance device switches to a gas retailer other than Tokyo Gas, we will provide information on the equipment that they own to their new gas retailer in accordance with Joint Use (6) of “Handling of Customer Information.”

Progress in Switchover to Safer Appliances
Air supply & exhaust method Target appliances Number of units targeted for replacement at launch of initiative Number of units at end of FY2016
Open-type gas appliances Small water heaters 37,000 2,499
Wire mesh stove 4,200 444
Semi-closed-type gas appliances Conventional flue type water heaters & bath water heaters / 
forced exhaust type water heaters (with downdraft diverters)
120,000 15,474
DFF Inc., Corporate Social Responsibility Sect, General Administration Dept., Corporate Planning Dept., Resources & Global Business Division, Energy Solution Div, Power Buisiness Dept., Pipeline Network Division, IT Division, Residential Sales Div., Fundamental Technology Dept., Energy Solution Div, Environmental Affairs Dept., Purchasing Dept. , Health Insurance & Employees' Welfare Sect., Personnel Dept., Internal Audit Dept., Audit & Supervisory Board Member's Office, Compliance Dept., Regional Development Div., Finance Dept, TGES, TOKYO GAS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

Ensuring the Safety of Commercial Appliances

To ensure safe and comfortable use of the commercial gas appliances used in restaurant kitchens and similar locations, we urge users to replace old-style gas outlets and rubber tubes and to install safety devices such as gas alarms and automatic gas shutoff devices.
Since November 2006, we have installed commercial ventilation alarms free of charge at approximately 180,000 restaurants and other businesses that use gas appliances in commercial kitchens in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning incidents. (The customers eligible for free installation are those who use gas in commercial kitchens and customers that use any of the 13 types of commercial gas appliances specified by Tokyo Gas.) These alarms are certified for six years of use and are replaced before they expire.

Commercial ventilation alarm
Commercial ventilation alarm
 
End Mar. 2007 No data
End Mar. 2008 24,000
End Mar. 2009 100,000
End Mar. 2010 142,500
End Mar. 2011 153,292
End Mar. 2012 157,977
End Mar. 2013 166,095
End Mar. 2014 171,623
End Mar. 2015 177,092
End Mar. 2016 180,406
End Mar. 2017 183,692
 Estimates up to the end of March 2010.
DFF Inc., Corporate Social Responsibility Sect, General Administration Dept., Corporate Planning Dept., Resources & Global Business Division, Energy Solution Div, Power Buisiness Dept., Pipeline Network Division, IT Division, Residential Sales Div., Fundamental Technology Dept., Energy Solution Div, Environmental Affairs Dept., Purchasing Dept. , Health Insurance & Employees' Welfare Sect., Personnel Dept., Internal Audit Dept., Audit & Supervisory Board Member's Office, Compliance Dept., Regional Development Div., Finance Dept, TGES, TOKYO GAS COMMUNICATIONS, INC.