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Interview Prep. - For People Working in Power Sector

W2WW2W
edited January 2015 in Interview Preparation
Hi friends !

Those of us who work in CIL, L&T, BHEL, NTPC, PGCIL, Adani, Alstom, JPL, NHPC, DISCOMS and so on, are all united by one common thing - POWER SECTOR.

It is such a field, where every member of interview panel, will have knowledge - general and specific. Each day in newspapers, there is some or other news related to Power Sector. And if we, who work in power sector, are not able to answer some basic questions which even an ordinary candidate is expected to know, it will reflect very poorly on us.

Due to the above reasons and due to our profile, the chances of such questions being asked to us is very high and so we must be well prepared !

Say someone among us is working in CIL, then it is very likely that one or more questions can be asked to him from the following issues: coal scam, methods to improve mining, imported coal - sources, quality, price and so on, types of coal - bituminous, lignite and so on, investment needed to overhaul obsolete machinery, recent issues of dividends being used by Govt to bridge FD, difference between coaking/non-coking coal, imp methods of mining (open-pit and so on), environmental effects, restructuring of coal india - making regional units autonomous, labour unions opposing disinvestment, etc.

For someone in NTPC or BHEL or NHPC or PGCIL : Supercritical technology, Power outlook in country - today and in 2020 or 2025, anti-dumping, Chinese competition in boilers and other power equipment, one-grid and related issues, pricing of power to industries and homes, T&D losses, environmental issues of thermal power plants and Hydro Projects, JNN Solar Mission, etc.

But, even if we don't work in CIL or BHEL, we need to know issues that are worrying these companies because somewhere we all are related in this close-knit value chain from CIL to DISCOMS. And we also need to have an overall understanding of Power Sector and the general issues, irrespective of our organisation or job profile.

I don't know how many of us here at ForumIAS work in power sector. If we have a few people here, we can atleast make a list of imp things to prepare for interviews. More focus should be on the kind of issues written above, which are of general interest, have been in news recently and are important for the nation and its energy needs. I just hope that we are able to finalise a list of imp issues (atleast) and then may be discuss them too.

ATB to everyone. May we all clear CSM'14.
«1345

Comments

  • @W2W
    Hi friends !

    Those of us who work in CIL, L&T, BHEL, NTPC, PGCIL, Adani, Alstom, JPL, NHPC, DISCOMS and so on, are all united by one common thing - POWER SECTOR.

    It is such a field, where every member of interview panel, will have knowledge - general and specific. Each day in newspapers, there is some or other news related to Power Sector. And if we, who work in power sector, are not able to answer some basic questions which even an ordinary candidate is expected to know, it will reflect very poorly on us.

    Due to the above reasons and due to our profile, the chances of such questions being asked to us is very high and so we must be well prepared !

    Say someone among us is working in CIL, then it is very likely that one or more questions can be asked to him from the following issues: coal scam, methods to improve mining, imported coal - sources, quality, price and so on, types of coal - bituminous, lignite and so on, investment needed to overhaul obsolete machinery, recent issues of dividends being used by Govt to bridge FD, difference between coaking/non-coking coal, imp methods of mining (open-pit and so on), environmental effects, restructuring of coal india - making regional units autonomous, labour unions opposing disinvestment, etc.

    For someone in NTPC or BHEL or NHPC or PGCIL : Supercritical technology, Power outlook in country - today and in 2020 or 2025, anti-dumping, Chinese competition in boilers and other power equipment, one-grid and related issues, pricing of power to industries and homes, T&D losses, environmental issues of thermal power plants and Hydro Projects, JNN Solar Mission, etc.

    But, even if we don't work in CIL or BHEL, we need to know issues that are worrying these companies because somewhere we all are related in this close-knit value chain from CIL to DISCOMS. And we also need to have an overall understanding of Power Sector and the general issues, irrespective of our organisation or job profile.

    I don't know how many of us here at ForumIAS work in power sector. If we have a few people here, we can atleast make a list of imp things to prepare for interviews. More focus should be on the kind of issues written above, which are of general interest, have been in news recently and are important for the nation and its energy needs. I just hope that we are able to finalise a list of imp issues (atleast) and then may be discuss them too.

    ATB to everyone. May we all clear CSM'14.
    Hi ! I work for one such company which has been a victim of evergrowing chinese competition. My job profile is of a piping and layout engineer with 4 years of experience. I have a track record of being grilled over silly power sector questions and all its backword and forward value chains. This thread will be immensely helpful for ppl like us as great chances are there that the start of the interview will be from our work profile.

    My take- Alternative power sources and their commercial viability and installation problems ..... lets discuss
  • asgasg
    edited January 2015
    I used to work in something related to the power sector, and I feel availability of fuel has been one of the primary issue affecting the generation side in India. Regarding this there was a news recently which I had marked for Mains. Might be helpful -
    http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/policy-on-swapping-of-coal-linkages-on-cards/article6341946.ece
    Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of ïrony
  • One of the existing problems like land acquisitions and clearances have now been partially dealt with. Now the most imp backward linkage problem is this coal 'availability' and its 'archaic linkage structure'.
    Whether or not we are directly related to CIL, the disinvestment and coal ordinance issues are likely to come up during the interviews. We need help of CIL ppl in this forum

    also the detailed and diverse point of views are expected regarding nuclear and solar power with the involvement of ppl working there
  • @asg : thanks buddy for your help... :)

    @ISIS_mujahid : Bro I don't think we have people here from power sector.. Itni tough conditions me kaam karne k baad CSE ki prep nahi kar paate log.. :(
  • @W2W Haha, pls ask various questions related to power sector..Make a list and we will try to answer..
    back to Square 1
  • edited January 2015
    Few questions posed to an electrical engineer, last year, by Chhatar Singh board.

    Q. You have been in Delhi for sometime, give me an engineering solution to the problem of power thefts in the city.
    A. My answer according to him was more regulatory than technical and hence;

    Q. That's okay, but give me an engineering solution.
    A. Mentioned something Spartan technical to which he squirmed and said;

    Q. Is that economically viable? No, sir. Not presently. Then why shouldn't I let the pilferage continue rather than paying out of my pocket for the system upgrade and restructuring?
    A. I mentioned the 'regulatory solution' yet again- highlighting that it should be the hypocentre of our efforts- but he seemed dissatisfied. I politely stated that I did not have any other 'engineering solution' for him at that point in time, to which he replied;

    That's completely all right, let's move on.

    Q. Have you studied boilers? No, sir.
    Q. What is biomass energy?
    Q. What is the source of this energy reserve?
    Q. What is geothermal energy?
    Q. Why hasn't it been harvested to its optimum potential?
    Q. So basically, renewable energy resources are all a sham? Give me one source which has great potential.
    A. I mentioned hydro energy, to which he quickly replied that 'we all know about it' and that 'it's been done and over with'. Anything else?, he quipped.
    Q. What is the contribution of solar energy to the energy mix in the country presently?
    Q. I recently read a report which said that India will become energy independent by 2030. What do you have to say about this? Have you read the report?
    One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.
  • W2WW2W
    edited January 2015
    @aamengineer bhai list hi to banani hai pehle... wahi to main kaam hai..
  • @khajoor thank you so much !
  • Q. That's okay, but give me an engineering solution.
    A. Mentioned something Spartan technical to which he squirmed and said;


    1) by providing a recording device which records the data when its opened up. and the data can be changed only by a security code known by the authorized personnel so that even if someone tries to tamper it with by disconnecting, the data won't get replaced..
    2) use of electronic -digital meters and replace the analog energy meters
    3) power factor measuring instrument should also be there with the meter
    Q. Have you studied boilers?
    boiler is a kind of heat exchanger which transfers heat energy from water to steam. Boilers are used in thermal power plants and nuclear power plants..Boiler converts water to steam at high pressure until the water is superheated into steam and is passed to turbines producing kinetic energy which in turn is connected to primemover of generator which converts it into electrical energy.

    Q. What is biomass energy?
    energy generated from biomass, such as bagasse, animal wastes etc..biomass being burnt in high pressure boiler to generate steam and operating a turbine with generated steam ,thus generation of electricity, often used in co-generation plants
    energy reserve?

    its estimation of future availability of fuel such as coal or petrolem

    What is geothermal energy?

    energy generated from hot springs that originate from inside the earth..

    Why hasn't it been harvested to its optimum potential?
    lack of technology, commercial benefits ,lower economies of scale, surveying is difficult...presently NHPC is the nodal agency for india's geothermal energy generation programme

    Q. So basically, renewable energy resources are all a sham? Give me one source which has great potential.
    personally i would say "wind" , since large hydro is not called renewable energy,. it comes under power min. and not MNRE. (otherwise i am always in favour of nuclear energy)

    . What is the contribution of solar energy to the energy mix in the country presently?
    (don't know, need updation)
    Q. I recently read a report which said that India will become energy independent by 2030. What do you have to say about this? Have you read the report?

    for becoming energy indpt we need to decrease our dependence on coal and petroleum and natural gas. for that we have to find our resource in our own country and develop other non-conventional sources of energy such as nuclear , hydro and renewable energy. Unless our targets are finished within time we won't be able to achieve this objective..Its a difficult but not impossible target otherwise..
    back to Square 1
  • @aamengineer bhai list hi to banani hai pehle... wahi to main kaam hai..
    list banate hai toh:
    1) renewable energy ..
    2) nuclear energy :types, materials
    3) boilers, supercritical boilers
    4) National Grid
    5) EHV or HVDC lines
    6) reason for power outage/blackouts
    7) chinese competition in power sector
    8) pollution and environmental concerns due to thermal, nuclear, and hydro
    9) why transmission lines don't have insulator cover
    10) what are advantages of DC over AC and vice versa
    11) difference between small hydro and large hydro..what is run-off river plant? (may be kashmir angle also included)
    12)types of coal in india, types of coal mines, how to calculate calorifc value of coal,ash-handling, carbon sequestration
    13) subsidy for electricity..what are its disadvantages?

    these are in my mind right now...pls add more
    back to Square 1
  • 14) what are captive power plants? combined cycle power plants, cogeneration power plants
    15) difference between gas turbine and steam turbine and also importance of natural gas as fuel for thermal- electricity generation,
    16) clean coal technology? IGCC technology ?
    17) what is plant load factor?
    back to Square 1
  • hope power sector related questions won't be a headache for power sector people who are usually hardworking ........and aspires more power through Civil Service :D
    back to Square 1
  • 18) what is a smart grid?
    Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of ïrony
  • W2WW2W
    edited January 2015
    kya baat hai bhailogo..

    here are some more (apart from the ones given in original post):

    19) What is ESP (Electro Static Precipitator) ? Is it needed in a nuclear power plant too ?
    20) What is a BTG package ? What is difference between EPC and BTG ?
    21) What are the advantages of e-tendering ?
    22) Where is India's first supercritical boiler being commissioned ?
    23) For a power plant under construction, which act is applicable - BOCW or Factories Act ?
    24) Who is a principal employer ?
  • edited January 2015
    thoda bahut ek-do line likh do yaar, to read here itself...(some are unknown)
    btw supercritical boiler in which site? bihar, right?

    and answer for 23) ??
    back to Square 1
  • 25) Is Central electricity act 2003 success or fail
    26)Kudankulam issue/ is nuclear energy 'clean'?
    27)what is solar-thermal
    28)is aggressive chinese competition in tune with Make in India initiative?
    29)diff b/w ID and FD fans
    30) do u consider JNNSM a failure. if not why?
    31) what is aux power consumption? how it can be brought down?
    32) do u think that PPP in coal mining will ensure adequate coal availability and will it really be helpful in bringing down coal prices?
  • edited January 2015
    what is solar-thermal
    solar thermal is a method to harness the infrared radiation of solar energy to generate thermal energy which is used to heat water or other fluid to run a gas/steam turbine and produce electricity. on smaller scale, it can be used as solar cooker or solar water heating system.

    do u consider JNNSM a failure. if not why?
    JNNSM is not a failure but is not fully successful, its target being delayed. The reason why JNNSM isn't upto the mark is because of its protective measures against foreign manufacturers of solar cells and modules

    Is Central electricity act 2003 success or fail

    provisions in CEA 2003 are not fully implemented yet. For eg. stringent provisions for preventing theft, mandatory metering not fully implemented, rural areas still dont have any standalone system,

    diff b/w ID and FD fans
    ID fan(Induced Draft Fan)basically pulls out flue gas from the furnace of boiler. It is located between dust
    precipitators(ESPs) and Chimney, handles hot air/dust. FD fan(Forced Draft Fan)supplies therequired air into the furnace for combustion of fuel. It handles air at normal temperature. The capacity/power rating of ID fan will be more than that of FD fan

    is aggressive chinese competition in tune with Make in India initiative?
    chinese competition in power sector is a huge challenge. Make in India initiative is required to balance the competition.

    Kudankulam issue/ is nuclear energy 'clean'?

    yes clean power is generated, its non-polluting/ its wastes can be further used in next cycle...., but mixing of radio-active waste with water and released to sea is to be taken care of.. and issue of liability in case of nuclear accident also..
    back to Square 1
  • 33)What is BOP
    34) is EPC=BTG+BOP/ why there is this new trend of awarding BTG and BOP packages separately instead of whole EPC package
    35)how is Design&build different from EPC in terms of risk coverage , cost escalation and LD
    36) as a project manager (future post in case of your selection) what will be your first step to ensure that deadlines of the project meet in case of a PPP project
    37) What is the most hazard prone area in a power plant? what types of industrial disasters can take place in a power plant?how to handle?
  • W2WW2W
    edited January 2015
    Awesome collaborative exercise friends.. These all questions are must-not-miss for any electrical engineer or a person working in Power Sector.. Aisa ho hi nahi sakta ki aap Power Sector me kaam kar rahe hai aur aapse interview me isse related question na pooche.. just not possible.. it is such a compulsive kind of area for asking questions.. so let's be prepared.. I liked @aamengineer 's attitude : "list banate hai toh"

    Here are some more related to legal aspect, esp labour laws:

    1) BHEL is constructing a plant for NTPC while using the services of B&R. In this scenario, who is "principal employer", who is "main contractor" ? What are petty contractors ?
    2) You have employed a contractor X for erecting a Boiler. He employs 250 other people under him. Can you advise X to fire a particular employee who is not performing ?
    3) What are minimum wages ? How are they calculated ? are they different for different states ? Can you give its approx numeric value as on date ?
    4) Who are migrant laborers ? What are the legal safeguards to protect their interests ?
    5) How will you ensure that your contractor is paying minimum wages ? Is this your legal responsibility or his ?
    6) A worker meets a fatal accident, after falling from TG floor. What are you going to do ?
    7) What are the various HSE standards to be observed at a project site?
    8) There are 2500 people working on daily wages basis in your power plant getting constructed. What will you do to bring them in the net of PMJDY ?
    9) What are the various environmental clearances you need ?
    10) Is height of chimney important for environment ?
    11) Why is Govt. giving focusing so very much on BOCW of late ? Whom will it benefit ? Where is the money coming from for forming the corpus to help laborers ? Why is Factories Act not serving the purpose ?
    12) MAHAGENCO is having a power plant running of 2*250 MW capacity. They have all the necessary permissions and certificates, including those required under Factories Act. Now they want to have an additional unit of 1*550 MW. Do they again need to apply for all permissions ? If no, then which ones ?
    13) Are daily wage labourers entitled for PF ? and what about ESI ?
    14) Workers under their union leader go for a strike to increase their wages. You are already paying them 1.5 times of minimum wages. Are they right in asking for more ? Were they supposed to give you a notice period before going for strike ? ALC calls you in his office. What will be your stand there ? What should be ALC's ideal decision ?
    15) Your plant is getting constructed in a remote location. There are often cases of theft. You employed security guards, but they are too few in number to man such a large area. Often they are scared of thieves themselves. What will you do ?


  • BHEL is constructing a plant for NTPC while using the services of B&R. In this scenario, who is "principal employer", who is "main contractor" ? What are petty contractors ?
    BHEL is the main contractor, NTPC is the principal employer, petty contractors are sub contractors of BHEL

    you have employed a contractor X for erecting a Boiler. He employs 250 other people under him. Can you advise X to fire a particular employee who is not performing ?

    yes, it may lead to accidents, so precaution must be taken

    What are minimum wages ? How are they calculated ? are they different for different states ? Can you give its approx numeric value as on date ?
    minimum wages are fixed by the govt. for labourers for their daily wages which is diff. in diff. states. normally its higher than the local wages provided..Rs 200 per day in UP
    How will you ensure that your contractor is paying minimum wages ? Is this your legal responsibility or his ?
    its responsibility of the principal employer.

    A worker meets a fatal accident, after falling from TG floor. What are you going to do ?
    first aid ,and take to hospital (not much idea, never saw)

    What are the various HSE standards to be observed at a project site?

    health and safety standards : helmet compulsory, then gloves,boots ,belts for climbing etc...release of chemical or toxics should be monitored, wastes disposal should be taken care of..

    There are 2500 people working on daily wages basis in your power plant getting constructed. What will you do to bring them in the net of PMJDY ?

    by giving them wage directly to their bank account (...and what else??)

    What are the various environmental clearances you need ?

    Env. Impact Assessment to be done.

    Is height of chimney important for environment ?
    yes very impt.. the gases and water vapour should be released much above the ground...

    MAHAGENCO is having a power plant running of 2*250 MW capacity. They have all the necessary permissions and certificates, including those required under Factories Act. Now they want to have an additional unit of 1*550 MW. Do they again need to apply for all permissions ? If no, then which ones ?

    not all. Env. clearance would be required again.. (rest i don't know)

    Are daily wage labourers entitled for PF ? and what about ESI ?
    no for PF ...they are unorganised sector. ..(not sure about ESI)

    Workers under their union leader go for a strike to increase their wages. You are already paying them 1.5 times of minimum wages. Are they right in asking for more ? Were they supposed to give you a notice period before going for strike ? ALC calls you in his office. What will be your stand there ? What should be ALC's ideal decision ?


    They are supposed to give a notice before strike..ALC= assistant labour commissioner ????

    make an enquiry whether their demands are genuine or not. (unethically put force,and then after few days bribe the trade union leader )

    back to Square 1
  • @W2W wow you have so many questions for grilling others.. thanks for that....

    but some questions are very tough..if you can give few lines for tougher questions, it will be helpful for us too...TIA
    back to Square 1
  • Proposed North Karanpura TPP falls in maoist affected area. Completion of this project is critical for the development of this region. However no contractor is willing to take up work due to the fear of maoist attacks. Government has allowed relaxation in bidding norms and has allowed your discretion in terms of selection of suitable contractors at whatever compensation and labour conditions demanded by them. There is very much possibility of labourers to be drawn from among maoist cadres themselves who may take hostage the construction and material supply anytime.How will you use your discretionary powers of awarding of contract in such a situation. (usually these type of questions are followed by "what will be your first step")
  • edited January 2015
    ^^ @ISIS_mujahid question from NTPC ED point of view or IAS-DM point of view ??
    back to Square 1
  • NTPC person obviously
    However in future i think that even ED posts will be manned by external bureucrats owing to the pathetic degeneration in PSU staffs .... ;P
  • @ISIS_mujahid this is a very tough question. Do they ask such type?
    I guess the first step will be to build acceptance in the region for the project. Maybe do road-shows that bring out the advantages the project will have for the region. Try and build capacities in local people so that they can take up sub-contracts for the project. Encourage EPC contractor to engage with local businesses and source from them. Ask EPC contractor to prepare a detailed CSR type plan for the community..
    Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of ïrony
  • edited January 2015
    ^^ however i think, joint secretaries should not meddle in engg. organisations which are profiting.they generally don't have technical knowledge, often their insistence leads to loss. for eg. some politician will demand a plant in his own constituency without accounting feasibility whether its economically viable or not.. the IAS officer will direct on the whims of politicians...

    but anyway, its IAS officers and politicians only who can change the condition of Indian PSUs. But preferably we need visionary ones..and have knowledge in technical stuff also..

    NTPC person obviously
    However in future i think that even ED posts will be manned by external bureucrats owing to the pathetic degeneration in PSU staffs .... ;P
    back to Square 1
  • @ asg

    These type of questions are generally asked during mid-level promotional interviews. Our interviewers (industry people) must have gone through all these. The question is not asked suddenly but is a build-up.

    Road shows and CSR will partially serve the purpose. The first step would be to ask the contractor (who must naturally be a sympathiser of maoists but you still have to award him the contract) to present the verified police accounts of all the labourers employed by him. Afterwards assess the situation and contact state govt/Central police forces present in the area in order to ensure swift crackdown in case of any emergency. A smaller level of armed protection can be contiously provided if need be
  • @ aamengineer

    What I think is that there is a grave resposibility shedding attitude in middle and higher authorities of even maharatna psus. A higher merit goes with IAS officers who are from their first posting itself are trained to handle risky and difficult situations. With the new govt. probably going in the hands of corporates coupled with make in india initiative the profitable situation of today's profit making psus is surely gonna deteriorate in future (signals are visible when psu stake sales perform poorely at stock exchange platforms)
  • 25) Is Central electricity act 2003 success or fail
    What could be a diplomatic answer for this question? An IAS officer involved in the framing of this Act applauded it, while it's the general perception that the Act was not up to the mark.
    One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.
  • ^^^^

    The diplomatic answer should be (a/c to me) that "yes its a tremendous success when it comes to professionalize utilities by breaking their structure in 3 separate streams which highlighted the pathetic conditions of discom units paving the way for privatization. Also strict conditions were imposed for theft and other deliberate losses. BUT sir the problem lies in the implementation part where CERC and SERCs must play their role innovatively and professionally"

    I invite additions from you ppl as i m not in a condition to answer holistically
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