PRINCETON — Duke Energy and Vectren Energy Delivery South utilities are sending crews to Flordia to help repair outages caused by Hurricane Irma, according to news releases from both companies.
Duke Energy spokesman Lew Middleton reported the utility is sending about 1,400 line workers, contractors and related support personnel to Florida. Around 630 of the 1,400 workers are from Indiana; the balance are from Ohio. They include damage assessors, line workers, tree crews and other support personnel.
The crews were to leave Indiana early Saturday morning with plans to arrive arrive in Pinellas County, Florida, by mid-afternoon Sunday. From there, they will be dispatched to storm-damaged areas in Florida as needed.
“Because we’re a large utility in multiple areas of the country, we can deploy our crews from non-impacted areas to storm-damaged areas and restore power to our customers more quickly,” said Melody Birmingham-Byrd, Duke Energy Indiana state president. “Many of these workers are seasoned veterans, having worked in numerous storm restoration efforts.”
During this deployment, some of non-emergency work throughout the Duke Energy service territories may be rescheduled, but there will be enough workers on hand locally for any emergencies that may occur.
Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana South is releasing over the course of a month about 50 contractors regularly assigned to the utility who are skilled in line work and vegetation management to help with rehabilitation efforts after the hurricane makes landfall as part of the Great Lakes Mutual Assistance program. Plans to increase Vectren employee support will be evaluated as southern-based utilities assess and develop restoration plans post-storm, the utlity reported in a news release.
“The anticipated destruction from Hurricane Irma, on the heels of devastation left by Harvey, have mutual assistance programs working ahead to develop restoration plans and Vectren certainly wants to offer aid to those affected by these disasters,” Vectren Chairman, President and CEO Carl Chapman said. “Vectren offers thoughts and prayers to the families impacted in these regions and encourage the compassionate individuals throughout the country who are responding to the call for help to practice their craft safely.”