Governmental Role-Play:

Monroe Energy Assistance Game I


Allan Morgan and Lawrence Susskind

Six-party, four-issue negotiation among representatives of consumer groups, political leaders, and public utilities to develop a statewide energy assistance plan for low-income residents


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


A federal statute requires each state to submit a plan indicating how it will use its share of a national energy assistance fund for low-income residents. The state of Monroe has been criticized for not managing its program effectively. Federal assistance funds have declining significantly, and Monroe must develop a new strategy for energy assistance. A six-member Energy Assistance Task Force including representatives of state agencies, utility companies, the legislature, and consumer groups will attempt to reach a consensus on next year's plan. Issues that they will address include: eligibility criteria for benefits; sources of funding; level of benefits provided by the program; and method of payment of benefits. The Governor has asked the Task Force to submit a report following the session.



  • Identify and recognize interests: players must clearly identify and express their interests vis a vis energy cost and supply. In addition, players must recognize the interests of the other parties in order to achieve agreement.
  • Relationships: the significance of relationships can be studied in the context of negotiation strategies. In particular, this game explores how existing and future relationships are linked to implementation of agreements.
  • Join Gains: When parties value issues differently, they can create trades that benefit both parties and facilitate an acceptable agreement.
  • Coalitions: This game provides an opportunity to analyze the effect of coalitions on a negotiation, especially blocking coalitions.
  • Public Policy Dispute Resolution: This game highlights how public policy disputes can be resolved by bringing stakeholder representatives together in a face-to-face negotiation.
  • Representation and agency: Issues of representation and agency 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.



This exercise is best played with six players (one per role). One variation may include replacing the legislative representative's function as convener with an outside mediator/ facilitator. Preparation takes approximately 30 minutes, although more time is recommended. The negotiation can be conducted in one and one-half hours. Debriefing time should be at least one hour.



For all parties:

  • General Information
  • Appendix Summary of Significant Data


Role specific:

Confidential Instructions for Representatives of

  • The Citizens Utility Board
  • The Department of Social Services
  • The League of Low-Income Consumers
  • The Legislature
  • The Public Utility Commission
  • The Utility Companies


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above



BATNA; Caucusing; Closure; Coalitions; Commitment; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Consensus building; Constituents; Currently perceived choice analysis; Energy Policy Negotiation; Fairness; Group process; Information exchange; Interests analysis; Interests, dovetailing; Issue control; Joint gains; Managing uncertainty; Multiparty negotiation: Objective criteria; Packaging; Partisan perceptions; Political constraints, dealing with; Pressure tactics; Public opinion; Reservation price; Risk aversion; Single-text procedure; Systems of Negotiation; Time constraints; Utility analysis; Yesable propositions

Monroe Energy Assistance Game I Attributes

Time required: 2-3 hours
Number of participants: 6
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: Yes
Teaching notes available: No
Non-English version available: Spanish