T&D World Magazine

Cemig Replacing Underground Distribution Switchgear

Cemig Distribuição SA, the largest energy distribution company in Brazil, 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. S&C Electric Co. has been awarded the US$38.5-million (R$78 million) contract.

The switchgear replacement is part of a major asset renewal program at Cemig, which will result in modern, smart-grid functionality for local business and the 18 million people it serves. Modernizing the area's grid will improve power reliability and grid efficiency, which is critical as Brazil prepares for the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament.

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 significantly reduce power outages, a chief concern in Minas Gerais. In addition, the local content of the order is over 70 percent, which results in most of the revenue stream staying within the country.

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. S&C will also 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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