Vectren, Indiana National Guard providing help

Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana South is releasing crews to assist households hit by Hurricane Irma.

Vectren, over the course of a month and as part of the Great Lakes Mutual Assistance Program, will offer 50 contractors regularly assigned to Vectren who are skilled in line work and vegetation management to assist in Florida, said Natalie Hedde, Vectren spokeswoman.

Plans to increase the number of crews will be evaluated as the southern-based utilities assess and develop restoration plans after Irma passes, Hedde said.

Vectren, headquartered in Evansville, provides natural gas and/or electricity to more than 1 million customers in about two-thirds of Indiana and about 20 percent of Ohio.

Gov. Eric Holcomb authorized deploying an Indiana Department of Homeland Security Incident Management Assistance Team to Florida in response to Hurricane Irma. The eight-person team deployed to Tallahassee, Florida on Monday.

The governor authorized the Indiana National Guard to deploy to Florida over the weekend, including the 38th Infantry Division in Indianapolis and a team from the 181st Intelligence Wing, based in Terre Haute.

The estimated 100 guardsman will assist in lifesaving and life-sustaining efforts in Florida, and will assist in coordinating response efforts and providing advanced communication capabilities.

The 38th Infantry Division was also called to assist managing the flow of personnel and resources into and out of the Hurricane Harvey zone, sending about 80 guardsmen to Texas. That group is expected to be returning to Indiana within the next few days.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.