Integrated Resource Planning: A Case Study

28 Jul 2023


A major utility needed to document stakeholder input into its integrated resource planning (IRP). The Writers For Hire (TWFH) was ready to assist with the project.

The IRP process provides a detailed roadmap for forecasting future energy needs, both renewable and conventional. The process involves developing strategies to meet future energy demands as well as capital requirements for energy infrastructure projects. 

In our client’s case, their IRP team had to produce an IRP every four years. Not only that, but local regulators required that the utility get public feedback and publish it on their website.

Unfortunately, stakeholder communications proved ineffective during the company’s last reporting period. They needed a team of professional writers to step in and provide expertise in managing public feedback if they were going to improve.

The company’s IRP managers realized that The Writers For Hire was like no ordinary writing agency. We had the team to:

  • Advise their IRP team concerning stakeholder communications.
  • Document stakeholder input using transcriptions of meetings provided by the company.
  • Draft content for the IRP pages on the company website.
  • Assist in managing the company’s in-house documentation approval process.
  • Store and manage the stakeholder document files.

About Our Client

Our client, an energy holding company in the United States, provides electrical power to over 525,000 customers in two states.

They employ around 2,000 people and have been part of the local community for over 100 years.

The company has a long-standing tradition of prioritizing clean, renewable energy over carbon-emitting power plants.

Its goal, guided by state-regulated mandates, is to transition away from fossil fuels.

Combining solar, wind, and geothermal generation, our client is collaborating with local regulating bodies and stakeholders to find a path to zero carbon emissions.

The Challenge

The company took criticism of its inadequate stakeholder communications in stride. This time, the client’s IRP team engaged TWFH early in the process to focus more on stakeholder communications at each stage of the year-long process.

The IRP team organized a series of public meetings, and partnered with TWFH for what seemed at first like a monumental task of gathering background information, transcribing meeting notes, and organizing content so it could be published on the company’s website.

Why Our Client Chose The Writers For Hire

The company’s IRP team looked forward to working with a team of experienced technical writers and project managers. With our broad reach and capabilities, we had the right solutions at precisely the right time.

Our team approach allowed us to brainstorm ideas among ourselves and with the client to reach the most efficient process. Our client relied on TWFH as stakeholder communications experts to organize public input and provide a seamless content editing and approval system.

Thanks to TWFH, the company’s SMEs were free to perform other essential tasks in their IRP process. 

What We Did for Our Client

First, our project managers advised the IRP team on how to move forward with the stakeholder communications process.

Then, we assisted the IRP team after each public meeting to ensure that all stakeholder questions and company responses were documented and that promises the company made in meetings were subsequently addressed.

Working from transcribed meeting notes provided by the company, our project manager helped the IRP team organize their written responses to stakeholder questions and assisted with the company’s approval and sign-off on all published stakeholder content.

Document Management Support

Using an award-winning content management system, TWFH created a customized system to file meeting transcripts, meeting summaries, stakeholder questions, and company responses. Our client had full access to the system, including all content files, so we and their SMEs could work collaboratively. We set up systems to track changes and revisions, ensured proper permissions were in place, and assisted with document governance and version control.

Content Publishing and Testing

Going a step further, we assisted the client’s developers with publishing the content to their website.

Our project manager reviewed all live pages and tested every feature to ensure an optimal user experience. When we discovered an issue, the developers were alerted so that the problem could be addressed immediately.


The Results

Working with our client on this project has achieved a dramatically improved stakeholder communications process over previous company efforts. Improvements in documenting stakeholder input will positively impact the IRP process going forward.

The IRP team members continually express their appreciation for what we’ve done so far and look forward to our contributions to the final IRP report. They appreciate having a team of experts dedicated specifically to documenting stakeholder communications and advising them on content organization for future reference.

Going forward, we are offering ongoing assistance with our client’s regulatory-mandated IRP documentation, workflow processes, and policy documentation projects. Because of the work we’ve done so far, this client has asked us to work with a subsidiary in another state. Our teams can’t wait to dive into this new, exciting challenge, and we look forward to continuing our journey with this innovative energy provider.

Steve Epperson 

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