As a result of federal and state mandates, co-ops will need to offer more energy efficiency (EE) programs and services to members—and subsequent regulation may drive further energy efficiency investment in years ahead. Consumer members are also demanding more energy saving programs, adding further pressure for co-ops to increase their offerings to keep members satisfied. How can co-ops with limited staff resources meet increasing EE demands and expand their offerings? Collaboration can be an effective approach and can happen in many ways, including at the generation and transmission (G&T) level, through a statewide co-op association, amongst distribution co-ops directly, or through a vendor relationship. This paper explores the benefits and challenges of collaboration, offers next steps to launch a collaborative demand-side management (DSM) program, and provides examples of successful co-op collaboration from around the country.

Value to Electric Cooperatives

Co-ops often have large, sparsely populated service territories and small teams, making it difficult to cost-effectively administer energy efficiency (EE) or other types of DSM programs. Collaboration among cooperatives on DSM programs can reduce costs, improve the quality and quantity of DSM programs, and enable co-op staff to spend more time interacting with their members. Cooperative Principle 6—Cooperation among Cooperatives—advises co-ops to work together through local, national, regional, and international structures in order to serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement. Working together on DSM programs can help co-ops fulfill this principle and provide the best service to their members.


Engineering, Operations, Member Services