History

Owensboro Municipal Utilities manages the largest municipal electric and water system in Kentucky with more than 26,000 electric and 24,000 water customers.

Owensboro residents voted overwhelmingly in 1895 to start their own electric system. Power was generated from the city’s first power plant on December 31, 1900. In November of 1900, residents also voted to build their own deep well water utility which went into operation in 1906.

The city-run electric and water systems operated independently until 1940 when they were combined into the present day OMU.

OMU is organized into three operating divisions: Production, Delivery and Customer Service.

In 1999, OMU began offering telecommunications services, including high speed Internet and point-to-point data services, to commercial customers over its fiber optic network. In 2014, OMU made telephone services available to our direct internet access customers.

Timeline

1895

Dissatisfied with the service they receive from a private power company, the residents vote 1,771 to 63 to build their own electric utility.

1900

Unhappy with the quality of the water from a private water plant, Owensboro residents vote 1,942 to 444 to build their own deep well system.

That same year on December 31 at 4:25 p.m., electricity flowed for the first time from the new city-owned electric system.

1940

The city-owned electric and water systems are combined to form the present-day OMU.

1995

OMU expanded its water facilities by one-third in 1995 when the Cavin Plant on U.S. Highway 60 went into operation. That same year, the Elmer Smith Station installed pollution reduction devices called scrubbers to reduce SO2 emissions.

1997

OMU begins installation of a fiber optic network around the city. By 1999, businesses can obtain high-speed Internet and other telecommunication services at affordable prices.

1999

An independent study awards a Five Star ranking to the Elmer Smith Station for low costs and its ability to compete in a deregulated environment. The plant is one of only 28 coal-fired units in the U.S. to receive this honor.

2000

OMU celebrates a new millennium with its 100th birthday.

2014

OMU adds telephone services to its list of offerings for business telecommunications customers.