Union Electric Company

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The Union Electric Company of Missouri (formerly NYSEUEP) was an electric power utility first organized in 1902. As one of the S&P 500 largest companies in the United States, in 1997 its holding company merged with a smaller neighboring utility, Central Illinois Public Service Company through its holding company, CIPSCO Inc. (formerly NYSECIP), to form Ameren Corporation (NYSEAEE) based in St. Louis, Missouri.[1]


Ashley Street Light and Power building

In 1902 in St. Louis, the Union Company was organized as the first incarnation of Union Electric Company. In 1904 Union Electric Company built the 36,000 kW coal-fired Ashley Street Plant in Near North Riverfront, St. Louis to provide steam heat to downtown St. Louis, as the main source of electricity that existed in St. Louis for years and is still in operation today. The Ashley Street Plant converted to oil in 1972.

In 1904 it powered The Palace of Electricity's electric lights at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.[2]

By 1906 Union Electric Company was a publicly traded stock and began to pay a cash dividend to shareholders, which it continued to pay every year since without interruption until the 1997 merger.[2][3]

In 1909 Union Electric began selling electric cars in the automobile business, and became the St. Louis agent for Studebaker and Rauch & Lang automobiles.[2]

In 1919, the Shubert-Jefferson Theatre in the Union Electric building hosted a post-war national caucus, in which the American Legion was born.[2]

In 1927 A tornado struck St. Louis, destroying over US$10 million worth of property, including Union Electric's electricity lines to the city.[2]

By 1929 Union Electric Company became a subsidiary holding company of North American Company, (org chart) which had once been one of the original stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.[4] Union Electric subsidiaries at the time within the North American pyramid included Union Electric Light and Power (Missouri) and Union Electric Light and Power of Illinois.

In 1929 the Bagnell Dam was completed on the Osage River and generated almost 175 megawatts of hydroelectricity for Union Electric, along with creating the Lake of the Ozarks with 1,400 miles of shoreline.[2]

By 1940 Union Electric Company was one of three holding companies and also one of the ten major direct subsidiaries in the US$2.3 billion North American Company pyramid of by then 80 companies. At that time North American owned more than 79% of the Union Electric stock.[5]

North American Company was broken up by the Securities and Exchange Commission, following the United States Supreme Court decision of April 1, 1946.[5] Union Electric Company was then divested from North American. From then until the 1997 merger Union Electric Company traded publicly as an independent company on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol UEP.[3]

By the 1950s Union Electric owned gas operations in and around Alton, Illinois, and acquired other utilities to become the third largest distributor of natural gas in Missouri.[2]

In 1952 Union Electric joined with its future Ameren mate, the Central Illinois Public Service Company; and also with another later Ameren subsidiary, the Illinois Power Company, to form the Midwest Power Pool system.[2]

In 1963 Union Electric completed construction of one of the largest pumped storage plants at that time, the then-350-megawatt Taum Sauk Plant, in Reynolds County, Missouri.[2] Years later, in December 2005 a large section of the Taum Sauk upper reservoir failed, draining over a billion gallons of water in less than half an hour.

In 1984 Union Electric added nuclear energy, when the Callaway Nuclear Generating Station began providing 1,143 megawatts of power from Callaway County, Missouri.[2]

In 1993 Union Electric battled a 500-year flood in the St. Louis metropolitan area from the swollen Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. In 1994 Union Electric shared the industry's Edison Award with Midwest Power Systems, Inc., of Des Moines, Iowa, for their work providing electric service to customers during the 1993 flood disaster.[2]

In 1995 shareholders of both Union Electric Company and CIPSCO Inc. approved the merger of the two companies.[2]

The merger was completed on December 31, 1997, when the two companies became one as Ameren Corporation.[2] At the time of the merger, Union Electric had assets of nearly US$600 million, but still carried nearly US$1.8 billion in long-term debt, down from US$2.5 billion which it had accumulated by the 1980s.[3]

The former Union Electric Company is now a subsidiary of the Ameren Corporation holding company, d/b/a AmerenUE.[1] Ameren is now also a holding company for several other power companies and energy companies as well.

The AmerenUE subsidiary continues to own Bagnell Dam. AmerenUE is responsible for managing water levels on the Lake of the Ozarks according to federal regulations; if levels are not appropriate, the lake must be closed until Ameren can solve the problem.

Today, with nine power plants AmerenUE serves 1.2 million power customers and 110,000 gas customers, primarily in Missouri, where more than half of its customers reside in the St. Louis metropolitan area. It also serves adjoining parts of Illinois, and formerly served Iowa as well through the mid-1990s.


  1. ^ a b Ameren Corporation, About Us
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m A Century of Excellence, Ameren History 1902-2002, Ameren.com
  3. ^ a b c Standard & Poor's Stock Guide, April 1996
  4. ^ Jeremy J. Siegel, Stocks for the Long Run, McGraw-Hill, Second Edition, 1998, ISBN 0-07-058043-X
  5. ^ a b North American Co. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, 327 U.S. 686 (1946). FindLaw.com

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Taum Sauk[edit]