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Power line communications uses the existing power line infrastructure for communication purposes. While the majority of recent contributions have discussed PLC for high-data-rate applications like Internet access or multimedia communication serving a relatively small number of users, in this article we are concerned with PLC as an enabler for sensing, control, and automation in large systems comprising tens or even hundreds of components spread over relatively wide areas. Typical examples of such systems are energy management (Smart Grid) and facility automation systems. We provide a discussion of the communication network requirements common to such systems and present transmission concepts for PLC to make use of the existing infrastructure resources (i.e., power lines) to meet these requirements.