$0.00 – $6.00
Clinton Andrews and Lavinia Hall
Six-party, multi-issue mediation among electric utilities, consumer interests, environmentalists, and mediator with technical expertise, over the best way to meet increased demands for electricity
The electric company, GENCO, has seen its capacity reserve margin drop from 40% to a mere 20% above peak load over the past 10 years. This decrease brings the company uncomfortably close to the minimum level necessary to maintain adequate service reliability. The imbalance between the availability of and demand for electricity has spawned various solutions which include conservation/demand-side management, gas- and oil-fired generation and coal-fired plants, provided either by the utility or an independent power producer. A mediator (Professor Calme), and a party representative from GENCO (the electric company), NOPE (a consumer group), the Public Utility Commission, CLEAN (an environmental group) and IPP (an independent power producer) will attempt to reach a consensus on a project proposal.
This exercise is best played with six players (one per role). Preparation should take at least 30 minutes and the negotiation should last 60 minutes. Debriefing should take at least 60 minutes.
- The prospects for achieving joint gains is illuminated in this exercise. When parties value issues differently, they can create trades which benefit both parties and facilitate an acceptable agreement.
- This game provides an opportunity to analyze the effect of coalitions on a negotiation, especially blocking coalitions. Adding a neutral allows for discussions of how parties use mediators/facilitators.
- Many aspects of mediation in a multi-party, public policy dispute can be brought into focus, including: maintaining open communication, focusing the discussion on interests rather than positions, packaging options, and the development of a single-text procedure.
- Issue of representation can be explored, since each of the players represents a group or institutional constituency. Each representative has a mandate which aids or constrains his or her ability to negotiate.
- Parties that reveal their true interests do not necessarily do better than those who remain silent or bluff. The advantages and disadvantages of revealing all of one's concerns are illustrated in this game.
For all parties:
- General Instructions
Confidential Instructions for:
- President of GENCO
- Spokesperson of NOPE
- Director of Electric Power Planning
- State Public Utility Commission
- Senior Attorney at CLEAN
- President IPP
- Professor Calme (Mediator)
Teacher's Package (26 pages total):
- All of the above
Agenda control; BATNA; Caucusing; Closure; Coalitions; Commitment; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Consensus building; Delay tactics; Group process; Information exchange; Interests, dovetailing; Issue control; Joint gains; Managing uncertainty; Objective criteria; Partisan perceptions; Pressure tactics; Public opinion; Risk aversion; Systems of Negotiation; Time constraints; Utility analysis; Yesable propositions
Least-Cost Planning Exercise Attributes
|Time required:||1-2 hours|
|Number of participants:||6|
|Neutral third party present:||Mediator|
|Teaching notes available:||No|
|Non-English version available:||Portuguese, Spanish|