Cemig Distribuição SA, the largest energy distribution company in Brazil, awarded S&C Electric Co. a US$38.5 million contract to replace underground distribution switchgear. 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.

The switchgear replacement is part of a major asset renewal program at Cemig, which will result in modern smart-grid functionality for local businesses and the 18 million people it serves. Modernizing the area's grid will improve power reliability and grid efficiency.

The automated switchgear will transfer an electric power load to an alternate electricity source in the event of a disruption to the primary source. This enhanced level of automation will help reduce power outages significantly.

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. The new Vista switchgear operates properly even when the automation controls are submerged.

As part of the project, S&C will perform start-up and commissioning services for the automation equipment. The company also will 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. The complete solution will help ensure optimal performance of Cemig's underground distribution network.

For more information, visit www.cemig.com.br.