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This paper presents a particle swarm optimization (PSO) as a tool for loss reduction study. This issue can be formulated as a nonlinear optimization problem. The proposed application consists of using a developed optimal power flow based on loss minimization function by expanding the original PSO. The study is carried out in two steps. First, by using the tangent vector technique, the critical area of the power system is identified under the point of view of voltage instability. Second, once this area is identified, the PSO technique calculates the amount of shunt reactive power compensation that takes place in each bus. The proposed approach has been examined and tested with promising numerical results using the IEEE 118-bus system.