July, 2, 2021
The Joint Investor Owned Utilities (IOU) Statewide Access and Functional Needs (AFN) Advisory Council is a group made up of the three power utility companies in California, some state government agencies, and various community and disability advocacy organizations. The purpose of this council is to streamline the process of getting information out of when emergency power shutoffs are going to happen throughout the state and making sure everyone can be safe during these emergency situations. They also do this by offering training and webinars on various topics from the three power utilities. The goal of this council is to make sure that persons with disabilities and persons who need specialized equipment to live their everyday lives get the required information to stay safe during emergency situations in which the power may need to be shut down for an extended period of time. It is also to make sure that the three utilities are in coordination when one of these events happens. I have recently started attending the council meetings on behalf of The Arc of California.
The three electric service providers discussed what transportation services they had available for people during emergency power shut off periods. They also discussed how they are updating their notification system to make sure that if a person does not respond to a notification a live person will be sent out to check on the individual and make sure that their emergency plan can be put into effect. They further discussed how they are updating their translation and language services to make sure that their clients can receive the service required in a more streamlined manner. This is being done by partnering with a service that provides live translation services to make sure that the information is being relayed correctly.