The embattled leader of crony capitalist energy provider SCANA has been forced from his post, multiple sources confirmed to this news site on Saturday morning.
Kevin Marsh – whose head has been on the chopping block for months – told SCANA board members on Saturday that he would step down as chief executive officer of the company, although it’s not immediately clear when his resignation will be publicly announced (or when it will take effect).
“His nightmare is just beginning,” one prominent Palmetto State official told us.
We agree …
Early reports indicated the besieged Cayce, S.C.-based company may have been attempting to use Marsh’s ouster as a “bargaining chip” – a way for SCANA to gain leverage in its multi-front war with lawmakers, state and federal investigators and aggressive attorneys currently pressing a multitude of claims against the company.
For starters, it is exceedingly unlikely Marsh will get the same sort of “golden parachute” received by Lonnie Carter, the CEO of government-run utility Santee Cooper.
Carter got a sweetheart $16 million deal from the state-owned energy provider after he resigned in disgrace back in August following the collapse of SCANA and Santee Cooper’s $10 billion planned nuclear power plant expansion in Jenkinsville, S.C.
“Lose billions, make millions,” we noted in our coverage of that travesty.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Marsh has been at SCANA for 33 years. He became vice president and chief financial officer of the company in 1996 and a senior vice president two years later. He is one of several top SCANA executives who made bank while presiding over #NukeGate – a multi-billion command economic intervention in the energy marketplace that has failed spectacularly, leaving Palmetto State taxpayers and ratepayers on the hook for a pair of new nuclear reactors that now may never be built.
In fact, ratepayers are continuing to pay $37 million per month on these reactors, even though work on the project has been abandoned.
(Click to view)
(Via: High Flyer)
In addition to Marsh, SCANA’s chief nuclear officer Stephen Byrne was also forced out on Saturday.
Their ousters come just two days before they were scheduled to appear before a S.C. House of Representatives panel investigating the debacle.
To recap: SCANA and Santee Cooper spent the past ten years building a pair of next-generation AP1000 pressurized water reactors at a cost of $9.8 billion. The money was spent, but the reactors were never finished. In fact they’re not even half-finished – with the cost to complete them ranging anywhere from $9-16 billion.
Unable to pony up that kind of cash, Santee Cooper pulled the plug on the project on July 31 … killing an estimated 5,600 jobs, squandering billions of dollars in investment (including more than $2 billion raised through rate increases on consumers) and throwing the state’s energy future into chaos.
Recently released documents revealed executives at the two utilities knew over a year-and-a-half ago that the project was doomed – yet continued to raise rates on consumers anyway. Not surprisingly, the project’s failure has spawned numerous lawsuits and a pair of criminal investigations – one state, one federal.
It’s also prompted a desperate effort on the part of current governor Henry McMaster to unload Santee Cooper … for a song.
The debacle has also cratered SCANA’s stock price.
The publicly traded corporation closed on Friday at $46.50 per share – down a whopping 37.7 percent from its most recent peak of $74.69 back in late December of 2016.
Meanwhile the politicians who presided over this spectacular command economic failure have been busy trying to “investigate” what amounts to a disaster of their own making.
UPDATE: Reporter Avery Wilks of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper is confirming our reporting.
UPDATE II: SCANA spokesman Eric Boomhower is denying the reports, telling The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier that “a report in The State newspaper that SCANA has ‘ousted’ Kevin Marsh and Steve Byrne is not true.”