Empire District Electric Company was named a winner of the Edison Electric Institute's “Emergency Recovery Award” Wednesday for the restoration efforts made during the devastating ice storms of January 2007.

The “Emergency Recovery Award” is presented annually to showcase efforts made by electric utilities to restore service that has been breached by severe weather conditions or other natural events. Nominations for this award are taken internationally, and winners are selected by a panel of former executives of investor-owned utilities throughout the United States.

Despite a current investigation into the response by Empire during December's disaster, the electric company received recognition for the rapid response and restoration efforts made during the series of three ice storms that began on January 12, 2007, and lasted through the following two days.

Approximately 52 percent of Empire's electric customers were without service due to storm damage. In order to restore power to customers as quickly as possible, the Company brought in an additional 1,500 contractors to add to the normal complement of 300 line workers and 100 service personnel.

“This honor given by EEI belongs to all Empire employees,” said Bill Gipson, president and CEO of Empire District Electric Company. “They rose to the meet the challenges brought on by this devastating ice storm and worked long hours in difficult conditions to restore power to our customers in a safe and timely manner. It is gratifying to have our employees commended for their hard work and dedication with such a prestigious award.”

Based in Joplin, the Empire District Electric Company is an investor-owned, regulated utility providing electricity, natural gas and water service, with approximately 215,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. A subsidiary of the Company also provides fiber optic services.