The miracle of electricity was first made available in Greenwood in 1894. T. Staige Marye and Charles E. Wright were awarded a contract on March 6, 1894, for furnishing and operating a street lighting system. Greenwood at that time had a population of about 1,200 inhabitants. On August 7, 1901, an ordinance was passed by the City Council authorizing a referendum on a franchise to C. E. Wright for the construction of a waterworks, electric lights and sanitary sewerage system. This franchise was to extend for a period of twenty-five years, but the City reserved the right to purchase the utilities at any time during this period.
In 1904, the city exercised its option and acquired the system for its appraised value of $123,000.
The first manager was A. L. Dabney, who was succeeded by Monty Smith, P. H. Messinger and W. B. Williford. In 1912, Roy Stott was named General Manager.
In 1946, Greenwood Light & Water took a major step forward with the installation of a new 7,500 kW steam-turbine generating unit. Designed to burn coal, natural gas and oil, independently or at the same time, the new addition brought the combined capacity of the system to 15,500 kW. At the time it was the largest municipally owned plant in the state.
As the city began to change, so too was the Light and Water Department, on December 18, 1953, an order officially changing the name to Greenwood Utilities (GU) was approved by the commission. Four years after the name changed and with 51 years of services, in December of 1957, Roy Stott stepped down as General Manager.
By the time the 1960’s rolled around, the city’s demand for power had more than doubled from the previous ten years. If GU was to remain viable, something had to be done. The commission, backed by the community leaders, began a push to build a brand new $3.3 million generating facility (Henderson Station) on the west side of the city of Greenwood.
As Greenwood Utilities entered a new century of service, their employees and commissioners are acutely aware that our success is largely dependent on the success of our customers and our community.
Greenwood Utilities focus is the same as it has been over our 112 year history: reliability and competitive rates through long-term planning and system maintenance. With these goals in mind, the commissioners and employees of Greenwood Utilities look forward to the next century of service with great enthusiasm.
Since the inception of Greenwood Utilities, formally Greenwood Light & Water, Greenwood Utilities has had thirty-three Commissioners, eight General Managers and two CEO / Presidents.