Rate extended

Santee Cooper’s board has approved several changes to a discounted industrial power rate designed to encourage investment and job growth.

The special rate was approved in 2012. The board Friday increased the initial discount to 55% from 45%, extended the tapering-off period to five years from four, and lengthened the life of the incentive program by a year through 2015.

Warren Wise

Santee Cooper’s top executive will go without a raise for the third year.

The state-owned utility’s board decided Friday to keep the salary for Lonnie Carter at $416,667.

“We felt it was appropriate at this time,” board chairman O.L. Thompson said after the board met in Myrtle Beach.

Carter, who is president and CEO, said he was satisfied with the decision.

“I had no expectation that they would take any action on my compensation today,” he said. “I enjoy working at Santee Cooper.”

Carter joined the Moncks Corner-based power and water provider as an entry-level engineer in 1982 and became president in 2004.

Bill Finn, the chairman of Santee Cooper’s human resources committee, which oversees executive pay, said they found Carter’s job performance is satisfactory but did not focus on his compensation.

“I hope we will come back to it,” Finn said.

The board usually reviews the CEO’s pay each April, so for it to come up at another time of year would be unusual.

The board voted not to award raises for top executives in 2012, a year after Santee Cooper came under fire from lawmakers after the board approved 3 percent pay bumps for Carter and four other top executives. The increases amounted to a $12,507 increase in salary for Carter and between $7,800 and $11,400 for the other managers.

The governor’s office asked Thompson to reconsider the pay hikes, and they were later rescinded.

As for raises for other top executives at the utility, Carter makes recommendations on their pay. In October they received 3 percent to 6 percent pay hikes based on where they fell on the wage scale, said spokeswoman Mollie Gore. They did not receive raises the previous year.

The pay for Elaine Peterson, executive vice president and chief financial officer, rose to $312,777 after a 3 percent raise. Jim Brogdon, executive vice president and general counsel, saw a 5 percent increase to $262,011; and R.M. Singletary, executive vice president of corporate services, saw a pay bump of 6 percent to $276,832.

The salaries of three other Santee Cooper officials who were promoted within the past year are: Terry Blackwell, senior vice president for power delivery, $219,190; Phil Pierce, senior vice president for generation, $222,006; and Marc Tye, senior vice president for customer service, $201,837.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.