History

In 1909, Henry L. Doherty & Company began purchasing power companies in southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas. The company acquired the controlling stock and respective plants of Consolidated Light, Power, and Ice Company which operated in Carterville, Webb City and Joplin. They also secured the property of the Galena Light & Power Company and Joplin Light, Power and Water Company. By merging these companies together a new corporation was formed. It was named The Empire District Electric Company. The selected name referred to the financial support received from the New York financiers who purchased the three local utility companies.

The original Charter of The Empire District Electric Company was filed with the Charter Board of the State of Kansas on October 16, 1909.

From 1910 to its independence from Cities Services, Empire had purchased 27 separate power companies to become the dominate provider of electric service in the region. In 1944, Empire separated from its parent company. In 1946, Empire’s common stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and began trading under the symbol EDE.

Empire also provides both water and natural gas service to customers in Missouri. Empire Water Company was created in 1926 when Empire purchased the Lawrence County Water, Light, and Cold Storage Company. The company served the electric and water needs of Aurora, Missouri. Currently the water company meets the water needs of approximately 4,500 customers in Aurora, Marionville, and Verona, Missouri.

In 2006, Empire acquired natural gas distribution rights from Aquila, Inc. This acquisition created The Empire District Gas Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Empire District Electric Company. Empire District Gas serves the natural gas needs of approximately 44,000 customers in 45 communities in northwest, north central, and west central Missouri.

A subsidiary of the company provides fiber optic services.

In 2009, The Empire District Electric Company celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Company commemorated the milestone with a book recounting its history, Celebrating a Century of Service. The book was authored by Brad Belk, a Joplin native and practicing public historian.

On January 3, 2017, Empire District joined the Liberty Utilities family. Empire is a regulated utility providing electric, natural gas (through its wholly owned subsidiary The Empire District Gas Company), and water service, to approximately 218,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. A subsidiary of the company provides fiber optic services.

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