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Capacitor placement/setting is one of the main means for loss reduction and voltage profile improvement in distribution systems. If capacitor placement is meant, the objective function will be the cost of energy losses besides the capacitors costs in a specified period of time. Here, reconfiguration can be used as a strategy to reform the base configuration of the distribution network in order to place the capacitors more efficiently with lower costs. On the other hand, if capacitors are already available in a network, optimum capacitors setting and network reconfiguration should be performed for power loss minimization. In this paper both power loss minimization and capacitor placement cost minimization are implemented using a modified particle swarm optimization algorithm. PSO is a robust optimization algorithm inspired by social behavior. Several simulations are performed on two conventional sample distribution networks and compared against the results of existing methods which demonstrated the advantage of this method.