Stakeholder groups bring together a cross-section of interested parties around a particular set of issues, with the objective of developing consensus for a proposed solution. Groups may include utility representatives, regulators, consumer advocates, environmental organizations, community-based organizations and consultants.
In the Midwest, eight states have convened stakeholder groups to address energy efficiency programs and policies. There are differences across the region in the membership and scope of the stakeholder groups. For example, certain states have topic-specific work groups to discuss initiatives relevant to a subset of the collaborative. Some stakeholder groups were created by legislation, while others are efforts of government agencies. Additionally, some are convened on a statewide basis, while others are utility-specific.
MEEA supports the development of a statewide collaborative so that stakeholders across the state may learn from one another. Collaboratives help utilities strengthen and target their energy efficiency programs. A statewide collaborative helps ensure that information is reported consistently across the board. This also can support and encourage dual fuel programs with electric and natural gas utilities.
Regardless of the structure or objective of the stakeholder group, there are several important elements that should ensure a strong collaborative process:
- Broad group of knowledgeable stakeholders representing a variety of interests
- Open to the public - any interested individual can attend
- Clearly defined objectives
- Independent facilitator
- Regularly scheduled meetings with agenda
- Open communication and sharing of information
- Reporting mechanism
Stakeholder Collaboratives in the Midwest
|State||Stakeholder Group||Currently Active|
|Illinois||Illinois Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG)||
|Iowa||Iowa Energy Efficiency Collaborative||
|Kentucky||Utility-specific stakeholder groups: LGE/KU||
|Michigan||Michigan Energy Waste Reduction Collaborative||
|Minnesota||1.5% EE Solutions
|Missouri||Missouri Energy Efficiency Advisory Collaborative||
|Ohio||Utility-specific stakeholder groups||
|Utility-only and trade ally stakeholder meetings, non-public||
Low-Income Work Groups
In addition to statewide EE collaboratives, a few Midwestern states host forums to discuss low-income energy efficiency program implementation. These work groups in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Missouri seek to understand the specific needs of low-income customers and formulate policies and programs that more effectively serve these customers. Historically, energy efficiency programs have inadequately served low-income residents, even though these customers pay into these ratepayer-funded programs. In recent years, regulators, utilities, and advocates have come together to discuss these program gaps.
MEEA participates in and supports the development of the region's low-income collaboratives as a regional partner of the Energy Efficiency For All (EEFA) initiative. The EEFA project aims to ensure that renters live in homes that are safe and affordable, in part by expanding access to energy efficiency to residents of multifamily affordable housing. Efforts from EEFA advocates at these work groups have increased attention on EE program gaps, leading to increased program spending, energy savings, and program participation for renters, residents of affordable housing, and low-income customers. Robust low-income energy efficiency programs can help customers save money on their energy bills and can help utilities reach energy savings goals.