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The Latest: Retiring utility CEO to receive $1M in 1st year

Posted September 1

— The Latest on an abandoned nuclear power project in South Carolina (all times local):

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3 p.m.

The retiring chief executive of South Carolina's state-owned utility will be paid more than $1 million in the first year of his retirement.

Documents provided Friday by Santee Cooper show CEO Lonnie Carter will also leave with nearly $859,000 in a 401K-style plan to invest or draw down from as he wishes.

The 58-year-old will receive about $800,000 annually for the next two decades, then $345,000 annually for the rest of his life. His contract provides an additional $270,500 over the first year of his retirement. Carter announced his resignation last week after 35 years with the public utility, the last 13 as CEO.

But he remains at the helm until the board names an interim replacement.

His impending departure marks the first executive to leave following the July 31 abandonment of a nuclear power project customers have been funding since 2009. Santee Cooper jointly owns the now-scuttled project with South Carolina Electric & Gas.

The retirement package involves his state pension, his contract and Santee Cooper's benefit plans for executives.

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8:45 a.m.

Top executives of the state-owned utility Santee Cooper were paid bonuses for the now-failed effort to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina.

The State newspaper reported Santee Cooper executives were paid more than $70,000 in bonuses since 2011 for the now-abandoned project.

Santee Cooper was a 45 percent partner with South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. to build reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station they operate in Fairfield County.

The utilities said July 31 they were giving up on a nearly decade-long effort, citing expenses and construction delays. They had spent about $10 billion so far.

Santee Cooper Chief Executive Lonnie Carter announced his retirement last week.

SCE&G paid nearly $21 million in bonuses to top executives, some of which was for reaching milestones in the nuclear project.

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