HARTFORD, Conn. – As Connecticut first began digging out from a major October snowstorm, its largest electric utility fielded as many as a half-million calls per day from customers who were angry and frustrated over widespread power outages.

The calls began to subside within three days, but not because the lights were back on: The outages were contributing to failures in cellphone service.

Without electricity, Northeast Utilities was as helpless as many of its customers in the days immediately following the Oct. 29 storm, according to emails the company sent to state regulators that were obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request.

The emails detail problems with poor communications resulting in wrong work crews arriving to help restore power, scarce lodging for visiting utility crews and vehicles sidelined by fuel shortages due to closed gas stations. The emails also show police were notified of threats to workers, including one assault, as well as a threat against Jeffrey Butler, who was then president of subsidiary Connecticut Light & Power.

The storm dumped more than two feet of snow in some parts of Connecticut, bringing still-leafy tree branches down on power lines. It set a record for outages from a single event in Connecticut, with more than 830,000 homes and businesses losing electricity. The outages lingered beyond Connecticut Light & Power’s self-imposed deadlines — for up to 11 days in some cases – and triggered a flurry of state investigations and Butler’s resignation.

The emails were sent under what has become “protocol and practice” for utilities to keep regulators informed during major storms, said Dennis Schain, spokesman for the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. The information is shared with the governor and other policymakers to determine the state’s strategy to deal with the storm, he said.

Lisa Thibdaue, Northeast Utilities’ rates and regulatory vice president, represented Northeast Utilities in many of the emails. Through Northeast Utilities spokesman Al Lara, Thibdaue declined to be interviewed. “We’ll let the emails speak for themselves,” he said.

As the snow fell on Saturday night, Oct. 29, Thibdaue told Kevin DelGobbo, head of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, that the utility expected a “multi-day outage event.” She said the Hartford-based utility had requested 500 crews that were expected to start arriving Sunday morning, with most arriving Sunday night.

However, the request for mutual aid fell short as crews at other utilities in the Northeast stayed close to home, Lara said. By Monday, Connecticut Light & Power had 499 line and tree crews by hiring contractors, he said.

Thibdaue told regulators Nov. 1 — two days after the storm moved out of Connecticut — that the utility was beginning to restore power.