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The Empire District Electric Company Announces Change to Its Board of Directors.

Business Editors

JOPLIN, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 26, 2004

Mr. Bill Gipson, President and CEO of The Empire District Electric Company, today announced that Mr. Francis E. Jeffries will retire from the board on April 22, 2004.

Mr. Allan T. Thoms has been nominated to fill the board vacancy left by Mr. Jeffries' retirement and will stand for election at the company's annual meeting of shareholders on April 22, 2004.

Mr. Jeffries was elected to the board in 1984, and has served the board with distinction for twenty years providing the benefit of his extensive experience in utility finances. During his years of service on the Empire board, the company grew from 104,000 to 157,000 customers, from a peak demand of 524 megawatts to 1,041 megawatts, and from a gross utility plant of $314,404,000 to $1,200,246,838.

Mr. Jeffries is retired Chairman and Director of Phoenix Duff & Phelps Corporation, Chicago, Illinois, a leading investment management firm offering comprehensive money management services. Prior to his work at Duff and Phelps, Mr. Jeffries was employed in various engineering and management positions by the Bolivian Power Company, La Paz, Bolivia, South America. Mr. Jeffries is a charter financial analyst and professional engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Iowa.

During his career, Mr. Jeffries was engaged in utility financial consulting, testified extensively in utility rate cases, and was a member of the Credit Rating Committee of Duff & Phelps. He also lectured on rate regulation utility financing and the analysis of public utility companies and their securities at Northwestern University and Michigan State University.

Mr. Jeffries served in the United States Army in Korea and was discharged in 1954 with the rank of Lieutenant.

Mr. Allan Thoms is currently a consultant with Wilk & Associates/LECG of San Francisco, California, providing regulatory advocacy services to state regulatory commissions. From 2001 to 2003, he was Vice President, Public Policy and External Affairs, for Verizon Communications Inc. From 1995 to 2001, he served on the Iowa Utilities Board, serving as Chairman of the Board. He held various executive positions for the State of Iowa from 1986 to 1994, including Chief of Staff to Governor Terry Branstad and Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development. He served as Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, and Treasurer of Dubuque Packing Company from 1982 to 1986, and President of Rowley Interstate Transportation Company from 1979 to 1982. From 1968 to 1979, he worked for the Dubuque Bank and Trust Company as Vice President and Trust Officer and Commercial Lending Officer.

Mr. Thoms has served as Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Transportation, Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Environmental Quality, Mayor of the City of Dubuque, Iowa, and President of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce.

He was appointed by the Chairman of the FCC as a charter member of the Board of the Universal Service Administrative Company, Washington, D.C. He also served on the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee of the Board, and as Treasurer of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC). He has served on the Board of Trustees of Clarke College, as Director of Dubuque Packing Company, and as Secretary to the Board of Dubuque Bank and Trust Company.

He is currently a Director of Carlisle Communications Company.

Mr. Thoms is a native of Clinton, Iowa. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Parsons College, Fairfield, Iowa, and his LLB from the College of Law at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. He also holds an accreditation from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking, Madison, Wisconsin.

Mr. Thoms resides in Mill Creek, Washington.

Based in Joplin, Missouri, The Empire District Electric Company (NYSE:EDE) is an investor-owned utility providing electric service to approximately 157,000 customers in southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. The Company also provides fiber optic and Internet services, customer information software services, utility industry technical training, and has an investment in close-tolerance, custom manufacturing. Empire provides water service in three incorporated communities in Missouri.

Certain matters discussed in this press release are "forward-looking statements" intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements address future plans, objectives, expectations, and events or conditions concerning various matters. Actual results in each case could differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements, by reason of the factors noted in our filings with the SEC, including the most recent Form 10-K.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 26, 2004
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