Patience with CL&P's efforts to clear downed lines and restore power was wearing thin as Day 5 of the storm's aftermath began.
"I'm kind of done being polite. We had a fatality last night ... it's boiling over now," Mayor Scott Slifka said to CL&P representative Watson Collins on Wednesday morning.
Slifka had initially been advised that at least one contractor had chosen to do restoration work for United Illuminating rather than CL&P because of issues with payment from Irene clean-up.
"We've now contacted that company and they have now been engaged to work through Northeast Utilities' normal process," Slifka said later. The company, which has not been named, is now working on restoration in the Hartford area.
"We're trying to assess whether there are issues. We're continuting to push CL&P and to the extent that there are problems, we will look to hire contractors directly," Slifka said.
"The electrical outages are uniquely Northeast Utilities' to resolve. We continue to work as hard as we can with Northeast Utilities and hopefully these outage issues will be resolved in a reasonable timeframe," Director of Community Service Rob Rowlson said.
West Hartford town employees who have the proper "scope of authority" are already being tasked with assisting with clean-up and power restoration. Rowlson also said that the town is looking to engage contractors with the proper scope of authority to reattach service lines.
"We want to grab them ourselves if they are not working because of a problem with Northeast Utilities. We are not satisfied with the number of crews in West Hartford and to the extent that we can bring more crews in on our own to make up for the shortfall from CL&P, we will attempt to do that," Slifka said.
CL&P officials said Wednesday that there are now almost 1,000 line crews who are working to restore power to the remaining 538,000 residents without power. In many cases, however, crews are still working to clear roads to make it safe for repairs, according to CL&P President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Butler.
There were a total of 17 crews assigned to work in West Hartford on Wednesday according to Collins.