CL&P officials said that power to about 204,000 customers had been restored as of Monday and that 13 of the 44 major transmission lines knocked out by the storm have been repaired. Repairing those lines is a key step in the restoration process, officials said.


 Butler said Monday night that 314 line crews and 185 tree crews worked Monday, and that 519 line crews and 326 tree crews would be at work Tuesday.


 The number will increase through the week, Butler said. United Illuminating crews will work in CL&P territory once their restoration efforts are complete, officials said. UI’s chief executive officer said on Sunday that he hoped to have all customers restored by Monday night, but on Monday he said the goal wouldn’t be reached until Tuesday.


 Butler said that CL&P crews will focus on getting commercial areas restored quickly so that basic services such grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will be available.


 “We understand the challenges that customers face, not only with the basics of life,’’ Butler said. “Given the cold temperatures, it is very challenging. We understand that. ... We’re doing everything possible to expedite not only the road openings … but also the restoration of power.’’


 On Sunday night, CL&P reported that nearly every town had at least one crew assigned to it, with a priority of coordinating with local officials. A new system of assigning liaisons to towns — first used during Tropical Storm Irene — has helped open the lines of communication with the utility. But it hasn’t been much of a help because the company doesn’t have the answers, some local officials said.


 “Is this five days or is this10 days? We don’t have the answers to those questions,” said West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle, whose own house in the town is without power. “I should be able to say, ‘We’re working in this area, we’re working in that area.’ … I know they’re very reticent about trying to give us answers but when we have direct contact with the public, that’s the question we’re getting.”


 In some towns, frustration began building as officials could not secure a commitment from CL&P when crews would start repairing damage.


 In Plainville, Town Manager Robert Lee said he had received only very vague estimates when CL&P repair crews will be in town.


 “I have people on the ground ready to go but we need CL&P here,” Lee said. “We have 28 roads closed in Plainville and we’ve only been able to clear seven of them. At that rate we won’t have the roads all cleared until the end of the week and that is unacceptable.”