Community Engagement

Santee Cooper names Bonsall as new president, CEO

The Santee Cooper Board of Directors on July 9 named Mark Bonsall, who most recently served as CEO of Arizona’s Salt River Project, as Santee Cooper’s new president and CEO. The board also approved the hiring of Charles Duckworth as Deputy CEO and Chief of Planning at Santee Cooper, the state-owned public power utility in South Carolina.

Bonsall retired from SRP last year and takes the helm of Santee Cooper immediately.  Duckworth, who also has more than four decades of experience at SRP, will focus on future resource planning for Santee Cooper.

Under Bonsall’s tenure, SRP increased revenues to eliminate the need to borrow money for the foreseeable future, while also increasing the competitiveness of its customer rates, Santee Cooper noted.

While serving as Associate General Manager at SRP, he created a wholly-owned taxable subsidiary, New West Energy, to market energy on a retail basis in deregulated California, generating more than $130 million net during his leadership. In addition, Bonsall amplified SRP’s emphasis on customer service.

Bonsall on July 9 kicked off a series of listening sessions with Santee Cooper employees, customers and other stakeholders. He will also work with managers and board members preparing a utility restructuring and reform proposal, which Santee Cooper expects to submit to the state Department of Administration later this year.

Bonsall has held a wide range of industry leadership positions including serving as a board member of the Electric Power Research Institute from 2014 to 2017, a board member and treasurer of the American Public Power Association and a board member of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

Duckworth is an electrical power system planner and strategist with deep experience in traditional and alternative fuel sources, most recently as Chief Strategy, Resource Planning and Acquisitions Executive at SRP, Santee Cooper noted.

His accomplishments include expanding SRP’s generation portfolio by nearly 6,000 MW, improving its reliability and increasing its diversity at the same time. Duckworth led initiatives to add over 600 MW of wind, biomass, solar, solar plus batteries, and geothermal renewable generation for SRP customers. That and the purchase of another 2,500 MW of natural gas generation helped reduce CO2 intensity and keep customer costs among the most competitive in the Southwest, Santee Cooper said.

In August 2017, Lonnie Carter, who was the utility’s President and CEO at the time, announced his retirement. In October 2017, the Santee Cooper board named James E. Brogdon Jr. interim president and CEO.