The mid-Hudson has trees galore, an arborist’s dream that made utility customers scream after 2 feet of snow from two nor’easters in two weeks sent branches crashing into power lines, causing power outages for hundreds of thousands.

With the region poised to get a few more inches of snow Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service, local utilities’ representatives say they’re doing their best to prevent more outages, most of which are caused by falling trees.

But Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez is among the locals frustrated with their responses. Last week, the Legislature called on the utilities to reimburse customers for their troubles.

Alvarez thinks residents deserve bill credits for their inconvenience and reimbursements for costs like diesel for generators.

Like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sullivan's Legislature called on the state Public Service Commission last week to investigate how utilities can do a better job preventing outages.

A PSC spokesman confirmed that the commission just launched an investigation.

“Something has to change,” Alvarez said. “The pole infrastructure, the wiring, the response, the utilities’ coordination and communication with the state (Department of Transportation), local departments of public works, me and the sheriff.”

“They have outstanding linemen, but people couldn’t move” during the nor’easters, Alvarez added.

“The plow trucks couldn’t do their work because miles and miles of roads were blocked” with downed power lines.

Spokespeople for NYSEG, one of the region's three utility companies, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

But representatives of Orange & Rockland and Central Hudson Gas & Electric said that, as with all big storms, their companies are already conducting postmortem analyses about areas of future improvement.

Over the past two weeks, 140,000 O&R customers lost power across 1,350 square miles in Sullivan, Orange and Rockland counties, plus three New Jersey counties.

For Central Hudson, 182,000 lost power across a 2,600-square-mile service area, including parts of Albany, Columbia, Orange, Ulster, Greene, Dutchess, Putnam and Sullivan counties.

Just a few dozen of each company's customers were still without power Monday.

Asked whether O&R would reimburse customers for their inconvenience and expenses, utility spokesman Michael Donovan said, “Right now, we are focusing all our attention on getting power back to the remaining customers who are still out.”

Central Hudson's John Maserjian said his company is currently providing a credit on residential utility bills for outages lasting three days or longer.

“Major storms cause damage far beyond normal conditions, and property damage and expenses incurred during major emergencies are generally covered by home insurance policies,” Maserjian said.

“We feel our response during these recent storms was very good and reasonable, considering the large amount of damage caused.”

As for preventing future outages, Maserjian said it would be cost-prohibitive to bury most power lines, adding an average of more than $10,000 per customer per year to existing utility bills.

Central Hudson is more aggressively pruning trees and seeking regulatory approval to spend up to $19 million on trimming, up from $15 million today and $5 million in 2003.

Like Maserjian, Donovan said O&R continues trimming trees, installing better wires and moving poles.

O&R also plowed $35 million into storm-hardening measures, targeting vulnerable areas in the years immediately following Hurricane Sandy, and the company is burying wires whenever possible.

daxelrod@th-record.com