HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — More than 170,000 customers of Connecticut electricity providers remain without power after Tropical Storm Irene and frustrated residents and business owners are pressing the utility companies for answers.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal also took Connecticut Light & Power to task Friday over the outages. He told the company’s president in a letter that he and others think CL&P did not do enough to prepare and respond to the storm.

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WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reports: Thousands Still In The Dark

Blumenthal said he’s also concerned whether the company will seek a rate increase to recoup its costs.

CL&P and United Illuminating reported a combined 170,000 outages Friday afternoon, down from a peak of 830,000 after Sunday’s storm.

People are getting by as best as they can especially in hit hard areas such as Ridgefield.

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“We have to wash our hands in a bucket full of water and we have to use a generator for only the fridge, cook everything on a grill,” Ben Kotlov said.

“I haven’t seen any crew out here and if its another week I don’t know what else to do,” Jeanne Kotlov said.

CL&P President and CEO Jeffrey Butler said Friday that crews will continue working all weekend, including on the Labor Day holiday.

WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reports some of the hardest hit areas, including Eastern Connecticut, the shoreline and towns in lower Fairfield County, may not get full restoration until Monday; some may have to wait as long as Wednesday.

Butler said more out-of-state crews are becoming available to assist in restoration efforts.

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