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S&C Electric Co. has been awarded a $38.5 million contract to replace underground distribution switchgear at Cemig Distribution SA, an energy distribution company in Brazil. Cemig will install more than 450 S&C Vista Underground Distribution Switchgear line-ups in cities across the state of Minas Gerais, including the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte.

According to S&C, the switchgear replacement is part of a major asset renewal program at Cemig that will result in smart grid functionality for local business and the 18 million people it serves. The automated switchgear will transfer an electric power load to an alternate electricity source in the event of a disruption to the primary source.

For this project, S&C is supplying a Vista model specially designed for below-ground applications. These underground installations - necessitated by space restrictions - are becoming more challenging as urban flooding increases in Brazil's growing cities. S&C notes that the new Vista switchgear operates properly even when the automation controls are submerged.

S&C will perform start-up and commissioning services for the automation equipment, as well as install sensors in the underground vault to allow monitoring of vault conditions such as vault invasion; environmental conditions, including temperature and potential flooding; and performance of electrical equipment, including transformers and network protectors where applicable.

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