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Santee Cooper board appoints interim CEO for SC utility

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Santee Cooper board appoints interim CEO for SC utility

The Santee Cooper board of directors on Oct. 6 appointed James Brogdon Jr. as interim president and CEO of the South Carolina government-owned utility.

The board has been seeking a replacement for President and CEO Lonnie Carter, who announced his retirement Aug. 25 in the wake of a decision to stop work on two multibillion-dollar nuclear reactors in Fairfield County, S.C. Santee Cooper, known legally as the South Carolina Public Service Authority, and SCANA Corp. utility South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., announced July 31 that they had decided to halt construction on the V.C. Summer nuclear plant expansion about four months after lead contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC filed for bankruptcy.

Brogdon joined Santee Cooper in 2005 and retired in 2014 as the utility's general counsel and executive vice president, according to a news release. Brogdon also is a former South Carolina Circuit Court judge.

"Jim is uniquely qualified to lead Santee Cooper during the coming months while our Board conducts a comprehensive search for a permanent president and CEO," Leighton Lord, chairman of the Santee Cooper board of directors, said in the news release. "He understands the important role Santee Cooper plays as a public power utility serving South Carolina and our primary duties to provide low-cost, reliable electricity and water, provide excellent customer service and promote economic development."

The board also promoted Marc Tye, Santee Cooper's executive vice president of competitive markets and generation, to the position of COO.

South Carolina lawmakers have commissioned committee hearings in the General Assembly to determine what went wrong with the V.C. Summer project while juggling ways to protect ratepayers from further rate hikes tied to the now-scrapped reactors and whether red flags were ignored.

Santee Cooper spokeswoman Mollie Gore said an effective date for when Brogdon will take over the helm has not yet been determined. Carter will continue to serve as president and CEO until such time.