Connecticut's utilities, maintenance, and emergency crews continued to play catch-up Tuesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, reducing the number of customers without power to about 420,000.

Utilities officials are still trying to add to the number of crews working, but some customers could still be without electricity into the early part of next week.

Jeffrey Butler, president and chief operating officer of the Connecticut Light & Power Co., said 854 two-man line and tree crews were working 16-hour shifts around the clock and another 75 crews from out of state were on the way to Connecticut, The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, on an an aerial survey of the state with federal officials Monday -- said he is hoping to convince federal agencies to send assistance. In addition, municipalities were encouraged to detail the damage from Hurricane Irene so as to expedite the process, The New Haven Register reported Tuesday.

There is no doubt it [Irene] has done millions of dollars' worth of damage to infrastructure. I have seen it with my own eyes, Malloy said Monday.

Power Restoration Time Affected By Staffing

On the pace or electric power restoration and repairs, Malloy said he believes profit-driven attrition has no doubt thinned the ranks of line workers at CL&P and United Illuminating, The Stamford Advocate reported.

Asked if he was concerned about such tactics now affecting the rate that Connecticut recovers from the storm, Malloy recalled his 14 years as mayor of Stamford, when from time to time he became annoyed with utilities.

I suspect that the industry has changed to such an extent that may be the case, Malloy said. I also know that we pay very high rates for electricity, particularly on the generating side.

Metro-North Railroad will run regular weekday service on the New Haven Line in time for Tuesday's rush hour, though the New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury branch line service will remain suspended as crews continue to restore power and signal wires torn down by Tropical Storm Irene, The Courant reported.

Bus service will not be provided on the branch lines, Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said.

This storm was awful throughout the system and was no less awful in one place than another, Howard Permut, Metro-North president, told The Advocate.

Malloy also warned Monday that 300 cellphone sites are fading because they are running out of power from back-up batteries, so he asked state residents to keep cellphone use to a minimum until the damage is repaired.

Political/Public Policy Analysis: Hurricane Irene triggered widespread damage, and certainly is Connecticut's worst hurricane since Hurricane Gloria hit the state in September 1985.

The above suggests that Congress, after review the extensive damage throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, should pass an emergency appropriation to aid the clean-up and repair.

Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama are likely to favor such an appropriation; most Congressional Republicans will likely oppose it. Sadly, even after a natural disaster, Washington is likely to be split on partisan lines, to the detriment of the American people, and their communities.