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 commences 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, and there are now 130 miles of sanitary sewer mains.  The electric distribution system consists of an estimated 120 miles of line.  These facilities now serve approximately 9,000 electric customers and approximately 7,500 water and sewer customers. 

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 Utilities operates as a non-profit enterprise.  The Hannibal Board of Public Works has specific authorities and responsibilities under the City Charter, distinctly separate from other City Boards and provides a significant benefit to Hannibal City Government.  Various benefits include:

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.