MEEA’s Guide to Stakeholder Collaboration


As a membership organization that includes utilities, businesses, advocates and government agencies, MEEA knows the power of collaboration. Time and again, we’ve seen first-hand that when diverse groups sit down at the table together, we’re able to harness our collective expertise and experience to find solutions that work for everyone.

And we’re not the only ones who think collaboration is a powerful tool. Several states in the Midwest currently convene collaborative groups to promote energy efficiency.

Download the Guide

This week, we released our new guide to energy efficiency collaboratives in the Midwest. This handy resource explores various collaborative models and includes a deep dive into four particularly effective statewide EE collaboratives in our region.

What is Stakeholder Collaboration?

Stakeholder collaboration is a tool in which utilities, efficiency program administrators and implementers, state agencies, advocates and other interested parties come together to discuss energy efficiency issues.

There are four types of collaboratives, as well as a related, but non-public, group (via SEEAction):

  1. Enhanced collaborative - a collaborative with a legislatively-expanded role, typically with a substantial budget, a staff, and a broad range of responsibilities
  2. Permanent statewide collaborative - a collaborative that typically has a smaller budget than an enhanced collaborative and more reliance on peer review and input
  3. Utility-specific collaborative - a collaborative with a role specific to a single utility
  4. Temporary collaborative - a collaborative created to examine a specific issue or set of issues over a specified time period
  5. Utility advisory board - a non-public group of selected stakeholders that provides input directly to a single utility

Collaborative Models in the Midwest

There are only a few enhanced collaboratives in the US, and none in the Midwest. In the Midwest, states have adopted the following:

  • Permanent statewide collaborative: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri
  • Utility-specific collaborative: Missouri
  • Temporary collaboratives: Minnesota, Kentucky
  • Utility advisory board: Ohio

Benefits of Permanent Statewide Collaboratives

Of these four models, permanent statewide collaboratives are perhaps the best suited for advancing energy efficiency. These groups offer consistency in planning and reporting, facilitate partnerships between electric and gas program administrators, and provide a forum to share best practices and find solutions to common challenges. Enhanced collaboratives provide similar (and additional) benefits, but the challenge of adopting and implementing such a collaborative is substantially higher.

Go Deeper

Read the full report to learn more about statewide collaboratives like the ones in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri.

Interested in starting a collaborative in your state? MEEA can help! Contact Greg Ehrendreich to learn more.