Risk Perception

Photo Courtesy Utility Dive

I grew up in New York City and got used to seeing very interesting people yelling

at me from street corners telling me this or that.  It was pretty easy to dismiss most of this as just the quirky nature of individuals.

One that was humorous was a guy standing at the entry to a subway station snapping his fingers over and over again.  I asked him why he did that and he told me that it kept tigers away.  After I stated that, as far as I knew, there were no tigers in New York City.  To which he stated: “works pretty dang well, now doesn’t it?”

The perception of risk is an elusive attribute.  Engineers like myself are extremely sensitive to things that can go wrong.  It is what we are trained to do, and trained how to avoid that, all of which comes at a cost.  But, at times we can appear to be a bit like fear mongers.  Or, as my wife likes to call me: Dr. Doom!!

Fair enough, but what drives us is avoiding things like those that just happened to Pacific Gas and Electric.  Read about it here if you didn’t catch it already.

But, before things like this happen, it is almost impossible to get management to pay attention to risks like this.

Afterwards, it may be too late.

This also reminds me of the placards I would see when I grew up:  The End is Near!!  So far, that appears to be have been untrue.  One can only hope it is untrue for PG&E.


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