Empire District Electric Co. sells its E-Watch security business

JOPLIN, Mo., Jan. 3, 2003 — The Empire District Electric Co. on Friday announced that it has sold its E-Watch monitored-security business to Federal Protection, Inc. of Springfield, Missouri.

Federal Protection, which was founded in 1969, provides comprehensive security services to residential and commercial customers, as well as financial institutions. Federal’s service area includes Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma, including the Tulsa Metropolitan area. Federal employs over 80 specialized security professionals.

In making the announcement, Ron Gatz, Vice President – Strategic Development, stated: “We are pleased to announce the sale of E-Watch to Federal Protection, a regional leader in the security business. Federal shares Empire’s mission for superior customer service and has an outstanding reputation for exceeding customer expectations. We are confident E-Watch customers will receive first-rate, reliable service from Federal Protection.”

Federal Protection, Inc. has offered the opportunity for employment to all E-Watch employees and will establish their local office in the existing E-Watch facility at 1710 East 32nd Street in Joplin.

Kim Hancock, President of Federal Protection, Inc., stated: “It’s wonderful to acquire a company with the same service philosophy as Federal. Over the last 34 years, we have built our reputation around our corporate philosophy, which is to `Under Promise and Over Perform.’ That is why this company is such a good fit.”

E-Watch was the second acquisition in 2002 for Federal in the Joplin market. Hancock said: “E-Watch customers will benefit with increased services by accessing our Springfield-based Response Center, electronic payment systems, and additional service personnel. Our goal is to make this transition as seamless as possible for our new customers.”

The sale of E-Watch is positive to Empire but will not have a material impact on Empire’s financial condition or results of operations.

Based in Springfield, Missouri, Federal Protection, Inc. is a privately held, family-owned company serving over 3,000 customers. The company also specializes in banking equipment for financial institutions and is the largest company of its type in the central United States.

Based in Joplin, Missouri, The Empire District Electric Company (NYSE:EDE – News) is an investor-owned utility providing electric service to approximately 152,000 customers in southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. The company also provides decorative lighting and fiber optic service and has investments in wireless Internet service and close-tolerance custom manufacturing. Empire provides water service in three incorporated communities in Missouri.

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