The generator at Connecticut Water is failing, which could leave about 80 percent of residents without drinking water and compromise fire suppression efforts, he said.

But Dan Meaney, spokesman for the utility, there is no imminent danger of people losing water service. He said the generator is running, but company officials are concerned because generators are not meant to run for extended periods of time.

"Our vice president of service deliveries was speaking with a Connecticut Light & Power representative to make sure they know what our priorities are," he said. "I know they're working on it and I think, thanks to the efforts of Mayor McCoy, it's become a top priority for them. I'm sure it will get taken care of sooner rather than later."

McCoy said the town's waste treatment plant on Windsorville Road lost power late Thursday, but CL&P restored power to the plant around 4 a.m. Friday morning.

Officials from Farmington and Avon vented their frustration during a press conference at the Farmington Marriott.

"It's an intolerable situation," said Farmington Town Council Chairman Michael Clark. According to the CL&P website, 95 percent of that town was still in the dark as of 5 p.m. Thursday, and in Avon, 87 percent of customers were still waiting for power.

Clark said one CL&P crew was in Farmington for the first five days without power, and on Thursday there were three crews.

"We need about 10 times that to see any real progress," said Mark Zacchio, Avon Town Council chairman.

Clark and Zacchio said the towns' public works crews are ready to clear trees when power lines are all disconnected.

"We feel like we're being held hostage by the utility company," he said. "We have the manpower ready to clear, but if there's wires, we can't touch them. We're just asking for line crews so our guys can clear."

Clark said he "wouldn't be averse" to filing a lawsuit against CL&P "after we get through this."

Irene Response

Butler defended CL&P's use of temporary repairs to fix its power system following Tropical Storm Irene. In documents submitted to the state's regulatory agency, high-ranking CL&P officials revealed that an independent assessment of the utility's power system following Irene is due next week.

CL&P hired a consultant in early October to assess the whole distribution system and identify areas that needed to be fixed. But as the fluke October storm bore down on the state last weekend, the final assessment of the 17,000-mile system had not been supplied to the company.

"The company recognizes that the need to quickly restore electric service to our customers may have been accomplished in some cases by temporary construction methods,'' CL&P Vice President Robert T. Hybsch wrote. In addition, he said, the electric system may have been damaged in ways not easily identified.

Butler said that hiring the consultant to analyze the damage was standard practice. He acknowledged that temporary repairs were performed after Irene but said all of them were safe and done by qualified linemen. He said he didn't think the temporary work performed following Irene impacted the large number of power outages this time.

"The damage that was done to our system this time was because of a large amount of tree damage, not because of any temporary work that was done,'' Butler said.

But union officials said Thursday some of the work done by crews from out of state "was below the standards set by the CL&P lineman."

"Towards the end of Irene when politicians were barking at them and they were scrambling to try and get power restored as quick as possible, they bought in anybody they could and threw out some of the checks and procedures we follow,'' said Rich Sank of Local 42.

CL&P and United Illuminating have been submitting documents to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority in response to questions from the Tropical Storm Irene Commission that is reviewing both companies' storm responses. Malloy announced this week he has asked that commission to also investigate CL&P's performance in this storm as well.