By Amy Howe

It’s not every day we get to celebrate such a milestone for a company. For 125 years, Carthage Water & Electric Plant (CWEP) has stood as an unwavering pillar of service and reliability to the community of Carthage, Missouri. Since its inception, CWEP has dedicated itself to providing essential resources that power homes, fuel industries and quench the thirst of generations. The company’s enduring commitment to excellence has not only sustained it through the years but has also propelled it to the forefront of innovation in the field. As it celebrates this significant milestone, CWEP remains deeply grateful for the trust customers have placed in the company. Its legacy is one of resilience, progress and an unshakeable commitment to serving you and the community. 

As a municipally owned utility, CWEP is community powered and exists to serve the citizens of Carthage with high-quality, reliable utility services at the best rates possible. Whether helping a new business come to town or a current business expand its operations, assisting customers with bill inquiries or payments, communicating information on social media or volunteering staff time at community events, CWEP always aims to provide the best service for the community.

“One hundred twenty-five years ago, Carthage citizens made a decision that would forever shape the community. Today, the men and women of CWEP continue to build on that foundation, working hard to provide outstanding services to our friends and neighbors and doing our part to help Carthage thrive for generations to come,” said Chuck Bryant, general manager of CWEP.

The company has evolved in many ways since its early start in 1898. At that time, Carthage was one of the few hundred communities in the U.S. to embrace the relatively new concept of a municipal light plant. The goal when CWEP first set out was to service the town’s electrical needs. Services expanded in 1907 when a dissatisfaction with the private water plant at the time led to the passage of a $220,000 bond issue for the construction of a municipal water plant and distribution system. Progress continued for Carthage in 1924 when the city built its first sewage disposal plant to better meet the community’s needs. In 2001, CWEP launched a new operational department offering communication services to the Carthage community through wireless internet and now through fiber optic internet services.

 “CWEP has been ever changing over the years to keep up with the current needs of the community so that we may serve our customers in the best way possible,” said Bryant.

Change is inevitable with any company, especially one that provides many essential resources to the community. CWEP has taken charge for 125 years in anticipating the needs of the community and meeting them so Carthage is able to grow and thrive.

“We take great pride in knowing that when customers need power, water or a connection to the internet, they can feel secure knowing that we have their needs and safety in mind,” said Bryant. “We understand that these things are essential to everyday life, and our highest priority is providing reliable, low-cost, local service that the Carthage community has come to depend on.”

As employees look to its past, they are reminded of the challenges it has overcome and the milestones it reached over the years to better the community. Together, in the coming years, CWEP will continue to make changes that will have more positive impacts for customers today and future generations of the Carthage community.

See more photos in the October 2023 print or online editions.