2013 marks the 100th Anniversary of MT. CARMEL PUBLIC UTILITY CO. The local Company actually began operation in 1893 as the Mt. Carmel Light and Water Company, changing the name in 1902 to The New Electric Company. The City of Mt. Carmel passed an ordinance in 1902 authorizing The New Electric Company to construct, maintain and operate an electric lighting plant in the City of Mt. Carmel. It further expanded authorization in 1906 for the Company to lay down all necessary pipes, conduits and other appliances necessary for conveying a system of hot water heating to the inhabitants of Mt. Carmel, IL . Soon after, the Company began producing gas at the electric plant from coke fuel derived from coal.
Following economic downturns, the Company went into receivership and Mr. Philip Barnhard was brought in from Ohio to manage the Company out of receivership until a suitable buyer could be found. Following a series of events, including default on a loan made to a purchaser, Mr. Barnhard decided to take the Company to the people it would serve. It is reported that he went up and down Market Street selling shares in the Company he intended to establish, and in 1913, that’ s what he did. They started blending liquid and air in 1947 and in 1962 began distributing natural gas. Mr. Barnhard was succeeded by his son Albert A. Barnhard and eventually the reins were passed to Philip Barnhard, IV, who currently serves as Co- CEO along with Terry Bruce.
The original shareholders included names like Barnhard, Fearheiley, Lawson, Stansfield, Reynolds, Hill, Froman, Underriner, and Hoppe, among others. More than 50% of the Company’s shares have been passed down to descendants of the original shareholders.
The Corporate office located at 316 Market Street was purchased in 1938 and was formerly known as Gher-Hatcheries. In 2012, the Company renovated the building façade. Many of the 46 employees who make up the MT. CARMEL PUBLIC UTILITY CO. family today have ties through parents or grandparent, aunts or uncles who also worked here. Margaret Felts, President stated “We have enjoyed a Century of Service to the people of Mt. Carmel and our roots run deep. Thank you for allowing us to serve you, our neighbors, families, and friends.”