A U.S. Department of Energy official says utility crews have been slower to fix Northeast power outages caused by last weekend's snowstorm than they were after Hurricane Irene and its remnants because they had less time to prepare.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Bill Bryan said during a stop in hard-hit Connecticut on Tuesday he was monitoring the mutual aid response that has sent thousands of extra workers into the region.

The snowstorm knocked out power to 3 million homes and businesses in the region. About 1.6 million customers remain without power.

Bryan says utility companies didn't have time to get additional workers from other regions in place before the snowstorm like they were able to do before Irene. Thousands of extra crews are now helping to restore power.