Full liberalization of the electricity retail sector in April 2016 will be followed in April 2017 by full liberalization of the gas retail sector. This will add residential and small commercial customers to the scope of liberalization, which already includes wholesale and large-volume users, giving them the freedom to choose which energy provider they wish to use.
Entry to the electricity retail business is in keeping with the objectives of regulatory reform of the electric power system (these being to (1) secure the stable supply of electricity, (2) suppress electricity rates to the maximum extent possible, and (3) expand electricity choices for consumers and business opportunities) and serves customers' needs. As regards liberalization of the gas retail sector, we will leverage our years of expertise in the gas business to better meet customer needs, and will continue to promote natural gas use and improve customer safety.
Our Group will provide a one-stop shop for gas, electricity, and value-added services, allowing us to evolve into a total energy group that will always be the customers' first choice and that contributes to the enrichment of society.
Development of Supply and Demand Structures Contributing to Stable Supply and Wider Use of Natural Gas
Regarding the gas business, the Hitachi LNG Terminal, the first LNG terminal to be built by Tokyo Gas outside the Tokyo Bay area, has now entered commercial operation, and has been linked to our existing three terminals by a loop line to increase stability of our supply infrastructure as a whole. Two other lines, the Saito Line and the Ibaraki-Tochigi Line, have entered service to tap into latent natural gas demand in and around the northern Kanto region, and we plan to build another line called the Ibaraki Line in order to further enhance supply stability and boost redundancy in our pipeline network. We will also be augmenting our manufacturing infrastructure in order to expand use of natural gas.
In the electric power business, we are the generation capacity holder of any of the new entrants, and plan to expand the power generating capacity in which we have a stake from 1,600 MW at present to around 3,000 MW by 2020.
Along with continuing to expand generating capacity (especially competitive natural gas-fired capacity), we will also increase our use of renewables to generate electricity as a measure to combat global warming.
Suppressing Electricity Rates to the Maximum Extent Possible
We are working to both diversify and expand procurements of gas resources (including unconventional gas) and develop our overseas LNG value chains in order to ensure access to low-cost supplies of LNG. In the last several years, we have signed memorandums of understanding on strategic collaboration with Korea Gas Corporation and Taiwanese oil and gas major CPC Corporation, and negotiations are currently underway on LNG procurements and supply sharing. Looking ahead, we aim to lower the cost of our gas resources by entering alliances on LNG procurements with energy firms in Japan and overseas.
Electricity will be supplied taking advantage of our strengths, including our existing city gas supply infrastructure (LNG carriers, LNG terminals, and pipelines), LNG procurement capabilities, and expertise in the city gas business. Power generation facilities will be built on land adjoining our LNG terminals to enable efficient operation, further contributing to the continuity of electricity supply and low electricity rates.
Contributing by Expanding Electricity Choices for Consumers and Business Opportunities
Tokyo Gas Group has over 200 showrooms in Kanto region operated by Tokyo Gas LIFEVAL, Enesta, and Enefit. These give us access to a network of more than 11 million customers that we use to deliver a host of community-based residential services. Through these showrooms, customers can order gas appliance repairs, installations, and kitchen, living room, and plumbing renovation work, as well as apply for gas and electricity services and arrange for periodic safety inspections of gas appliances.
In April 2016, we launched a new electricity tariff menu called the "Zuttomo Plan," which lets customers choose from a range of gas, electricity, and other services to create a personalized package of services suited to their lifestyles. The Zuttomo Plan offers not only electricity discounts, but also a range of other options that provide good value for money, peace of mind, and simplicity and convenience. These include the "Tokyo Gas Triple Discount," which provides a further discount when customers choose Tokyo Gas as their Internet provider as well as their gas and electricity supplier; the "Emergency Home Assist Package," which provides 24/7/365 onsite emergency support and repairs in the event of plumbing problems, broken windows, or getting locked out; and the “Paccho Point” loyalty program, through which customers can earn points to spend on handy lifestyle gifts or affiliated loyalty programs.
Other useful information for home users will be delivered via the "myTOKYOGAS" online members' program, including instant, easy-to-understand data on gas and electricity usage and rates, and alerts when customers use too much energy.
Looking ahead, we will strengthen and expand our partnerships so that gas companies receiving wholesale gas from Tokyo Gas and LPG distributors can provide their customers with “total energy services” combining value-added services with gas and electricity. We will expand sales through collaboration with firms across a range of industries.
- ✽Some services will be available to customers who have service contracts with gas companies receiving wholesale gas from Tokyo Gas and LPG distributors.