- The City of Hannibal was settled in 1819 and incorporated in 1845. The Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) was established in 1903.
- City Utilities commenced in 1886, first municipal electric light and power plant in Missouri, at a cost of $17,000.
- In 1913, the City purchased the privately-owned Hannibal Water Company and turned the facilities over to the HBPW for management.
- In 1962, the HBPW assumed management and responsibility for the sanitary sewer system.
- Since these humble beginnings, the Municipal Utility System has been subject to considerable expansion. The original 10 miles of water mains have grown to 170 miles of pipelines. The electric distribution system consists of an estimated 120 miles of line. There are 130 miles of sanitary sewer mains. These facilities now serve approximately 9,000 electric customers and approximately 7,500 water and sewer customers.
- HBPW responsibilities have also grown through the years, now including the Electric Distribution System, Water Treatment Plant, Water Distribution Facilities, Wastewater Treatment Plant, Sewer Collection System, Underground Storm-water Drainage System, maintenance of floodwall pumps and maintenance of the Bear Creek Dam.
- The HBPW is managed by a four-member Board, with members appointed by the City Manager and subject to City Council approval. Board Members serve four-year terms. The Board oversees a municipal utility operation, planning, and financial condition.
- The HBPW has specific authorities and responsibilities under the City Charter, distinctly separate from other City Boards. The Municipal Utilities operate as a non-profit enterprise. The HBPW does provide a significant benefit to Hannibal City Government. Various benefits include: Transfer fees, Street lighting, Underground storm sewer maintenance / Bear Creek Dam, 50% of the cost of City Collector's Office, Funding for Director of Board of Public Works office, Fire hydrants, Water storage, Water distribution, Support of economic development.
- The HBPW is a very diverse and complicated operation. The employees include various skilled labor classifications, including journeyman linemen, pipe fitters, state licensed water and wastewater plant operators and associated semi-skilled personnel. The attraction and retention of qualified personnel is a continual challenge in today's labor market. Approximately 2/3 of this labor force (non-office personnel) is represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
- The Municipal Utility System is continually faced with significant capital expenditure demands. Increasing environmental regulations and more stringent public health standards require ongoing improvements in processes, reporting, testing controls and facilities. In addition, the growth of customer numbers and increased customer consumption require ongoing expansions of the physical facilities. Long-range capital planning and financial management are critical to the success of the Municipal Utilities.
- The HBPW generated electric power from 1903 to 1973. Flood damage and increasing environmental regulation rendered power plant rebuilding impractical. Since 1973, all electricity has been purchased from investor owned suppliers.
- New Federal Regulations have de-regulated the electric industry, granting all purchasers open access to transmission systems, thereby creating open competition among power generation companies. Regional constraints on power purchase were removed.
- The HBPW is currently under a three-year purchase power agreement with Ameren Energy Marketing for full service requirements. The contract runs through December 31, 2011.
- Water system complexity is quite high, due to hills and valleys. Water storage tanks located at differing elevations provide uniform pressures, whether the customer is on a hill or in a valley. Four pressure zones serve the City.
Mapping / Billing / SCADA / Information Technology
- HBPW daily operations rely heavily upon a computerized systems for work orders, billing, accounting, payroll, substation controls, water / wastewater system monitoring and remote switching of electric loads.
Wastewater Treatment Plant
- The current facility was constructed in 1981 and upgraded in 1993. Currently the processing capacity of this facility is 6 million gallons per day. Preliminary studies are taking place to determine the improvement processes that will be phased in over the next several years through multiple projects.
Financial Management of Municipal Utility
- The HBPW continues to strive for equity in its utility rate structure. Costs of service must be properly assessed to the various customer classes and overhead costs must be properly distributed to the various departments. With issues of customer choice, retail wheeling, bulk utility sales, competition and privatization, utility operations are continually being improved.
- The HBPW manages a publicly owned Utility System whose worth far exceeds the book value of its assets. The Municipal Utility provides at-cost services without consideration for return on investment, dividends, profits or other financial gains. Funds are accumulated in anticipation of future system enhancements, expansions, maintenance, regulation, and emergency requirements.