Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter on Aug. 25 announced his retirement from Santee Cooper after a 35-year career that saw Santee Cooper triple in generating capacity and number of customers served.
In a news release, the South Carolina-based public power utility noted that 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. He will continue to serve as CEO until a successor is named.
During his time at Santee Cooper, Carter was instrumental in founding The Energy Authority, a joint power marketing organization based in Jacksonville, Florida. He served as TEA's first president and CEO.
Carter has also been a national leader and champion of the public power industry, serving in many capacities including chairman of the board of directors of the American Public Power Association and chair of the Large Public Power Council. He has served on the faculty of the Association's Public Power Leadership Workshop, sharing his experiences with rising managers and new CEOs. He was a strong supporter of the Association's political action committee, PowerPAC. He also served as a public power CEO representative on the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, the joint industry-government group formed to address the cyber and physical security challenges facing the electric utility industry. He was recognized with the Association's highest award, the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award, in 2013.
Sue Kelly, the Association's President and CEO, said that "public power owes Lonnie a huge debt of gratitude for the many hours he devoted to public power and to the Association over many years. Many talk about the concept of servant leadership, but Lonnie has exemplified it."
"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."