MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter announced Friday his retirement from Santee Cooper after a 35-year career that saw Santee Cooper triple in generating capacity and number of customers served.
Carter will leave Santee Cooper with rates lower than the state and national averages, customer satisfaction ratings well above the national average, and reliability and safety records that are the envy of power utilities across the country.
“The Board accepts Lonnie’s decision to retire with great respect and admiration for all that he has done during his career,” said Leighton Lord, Chairman of the Santee Cooper Board of Directors. “Lonnie has had a positive influence on Santee Cooper, our customers and the state of South Carolina, thanks to the many innovations and accomplishments we achieved with his guidance. On a personal note, I appreciate the sincerity and integrity he has demonstrated throughout our time working together.”
Carter joined Santee Cooper in 1982 as an analyst in the controller’s office. He also served as manager of corporate forecasting, vice president of corporate forecasting, and senior vice president of customer service. Carter was named president and CEO in 2004.
Lord cited the renegotiated agreement with Central Electric Power Cooperative, Santee Cooper’s largest wholesale customer, as one of Carter’s most significant accomplishments, noting the 2013 agreement extended the contract through 2058 and provided multi-billion-dollar cost savings that benefited all Santee Cooper customers. “Lonnie has been a strong advocate for economic development across South Carolina as well, guiding Santee Cooper through our supporting role in landing Volvo Car USA’s new manufacturing plant in Berkeley County and launching economic development incentive programs that benefit all 46 counties of South Carolina,” Lord said.
During his time at Santee Cooper, Carter was instrumental in founding The Energy Authority, a joint power marketing organization based in Jacksonville, Fla., and serving as its first president and CEO. Carter also became a national leader and champion of the public power industry, serving in many capacities including chairman with both the Large Public Power Council and the American Public Power Association.
“Working with the talented, dedicated employees of Santee Cooper has been a wonderful career,” Carter said. “Having the opportunity to be part of a great organization focused on providing top quality service to its customers has been very rewarding professionally. I will always be proud to be a Santee Cooper retiree.”
Carter has served the community in roles including Chairman of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Chairman of the Trident United Way, and board member of numerous organizations including the Roper St. Francis Foundation Board of Directors, the Trident CEO Council, the Trident Technical College Foundation and The Citadel School of Business.
Among recognitions Carter has received are S.C. Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year in 2015 and the American Public Power Association’s Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award in 2013. “Santee Cooper is led by a president who understands the vital importance of electricity to the daily lives of everyone and the importance of keeping the cost of electricity as low as possible,” APPA said in that 2013 press release.
Santee Cooper is one of the nation’s largest public power utilities, South Carolina’s largest power producer, the largest Green Power generator and the ultimate source of electricity for 2 million people across the state. Through its low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity and water services, and through innovative partnerships and initiatives that attract and retain industry and jobs, Santee Cooper powers South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.santeecooper.com.