Aspiration behind Getting the Blue Sky Back in Tokyo
As an energy company, we bear the responsibility to realize a sustainable society and pass on this beautiful planet to future generations.
Fifty years have passed since Tokyo Gas introduced LNG (liquefied natural gas) to Japan, overcoming numerous obstacles in the process. Before that, we had produced gas from coal and oil, and by shifting to natural gas, a clean source of energy with high calorific value, we significantly reduced emissions of hazardous substances. Despite the rapidly growing demand for energy, we were able to maintain a stable supply of gas with minimum capital investment by enhancing our supply capacity through technological innovation.
In those earlier days, company management aspired that “Getting the blue sky back in Tokyo” and demonstrated foresight through decisions that energized the opening of a new era. Today, natural gas is one of the core energy sources that sustains the Japanese society and economy.
Achieving the Medium-term Management Plan with an Entrepreneurial Spirit from Our Founding Days
As the entire industry faced unprecedented pressures to change, we witnessed the seeds we had sown beginning to sprout in fiscal 2018, marking the first year of our GPS2020 Medium-term Management Plan for the three years through fiscal 2020. While we lost more customers than we had expected to competitors in our gas business, we gained an unexpectedly high number of subscriptions in our electricity business. Even though the gas business has been swept up in a wave of competition from newcomers, we are seeing signs of customers gradually returning by switching back to our service.
Low pricing is not the only criterion that matters to customers in choosing a power company. We believe that we can be the company of choice by gaining customer trust through combined efforts for ensuring secure and safe energy use, including stable supply, reliable safety, and disaster prevention.
Eiichi Shibusawa, who founded Tokyo Gas on October 1, 1885, believed in the concept of unifying morality financial combination theory. He advocated maintaining high aspirations in pursuit of the public good and following the right path in managing a company while at the same time making a profit. Accordingly, the Tokyo Gas Group has sought to sustainably develop both society and the company.
We will inherit this and steadfastly maintain an entrepreneurial spirit of our founding days as we engage in our daily business activities.
Improving Operational Processes to Boost Productivity
A sound workplace environment is essential for realizing a sustainable society through our business operations. Tokyo Gas sets up the Business Transformation Project Dept. for improving operational processes, and it has led the way in implementing internal restructuring for raising productivity, from correcting long working hours and reducing costs to establishing personnel systems and workplace environments that cater to diverse employees.
Since taking office, I have also made a point of regularly visiting each department and subsidiary to exchange ideas, and we have taken the necessary steps to resolve pressing workplace issues. Under the slogan of ECRS (eliminate, combine, rearrange, and simplify), we are beginning to see results, such as improved operating efficiency from introducing IoT. I intend to boost these efforts so that employees can fully demonstrate their maximum abilities with great successes.
Striving to Realize a Sustainable Society in the Next Half Century
By envisioning the next half century, we are promoting changes in our business structure to attain our immediate target year of 2030. The key factors can be summed up by the four Ds, as in deregulation, decarbonization, decentralization, and digitalization. We will explore ways to address deregulation and intensified competition in the energy sector, demands placed by decarbonized initiatives; the optimal use of distributed energy such as solar power and wind power; and the growing need to apply the latest digital technologies to transform businesses and to create new ones. We consider these to be our top priority issues for the future, along with flexibly responding to the projected decline in domestic energy demand and further expanding our international business.
One clue to a potential solution is the concept of Energy as a Service (EaaS), which involves not only supplying gas and electricity but also providing customers with the services they need. The Smart Energy Network is an example. Using clean city gas as fuel, electricity is produced in a combined heat and power (CHP) system*1
, and the heat generated as a by-product is used to supply air-conditioning, heating, hot water and steam. By providing a service that combines this process with an ICT-based energy management system, we can contribute to safe and secure communities and urban development.
*1 Gas engine-based CHP systems generate electricity and recover exhaust heat generated as a by-product.
I am convinced that the effective, advanced use of natural gas is essential for realizing a decarbonized society and offers the best shortcut for achieving that goal. For example, natural gas-based thermal power plants offer excellent flexibility as backup power complementing the unstable output of renewable energy and significantly contribute to laying the foundations for introducing and expanding alternative energy sources. We have a possibility to realize a decarbonized society by optimally utilizing hydrogen and distributed renewable energy. Specifically, we envision a future in our next long-term management vision which focuses on 2030.
Our corporate message of “Supporting you always and bettering every day” expresses our aspiration to become a driving force behind daily life and society by meeting challenges and taking action to bring about a vibrant, safe, and pleasant future. To fulfill this responsibility consistently in an ever-changing society, we will address social needs and expectations from a global perspective and contribute to the creation of a sustainable society.
Representative Director, President and CEO
Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.