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Of recent years there has been a large increase in the use and application of electricity in rural areas. The loads are usually small but are distributed over very large areas, and a high standard of service is an essential requirement as prolonged interruption of supply may cause serious inconvenience to users. Supplies in such areas are generally provided by high-voltage overhead lines, from which distribution transformers provide links with the general medium-voltage distribution networks. The transformers and spur h.v. lines are usually protected by fuses, with the number of h.v. circuit-breakers kept to a minimum. Under these conditions, therefore, h.v. faults of both a transient and a permanent nature might cause prolonged interruption of supply, owing to the distances to be covered before fuses can be replaced or circuit-breakers reclosed. Where only a limited breaking capacity is required an automatic circuit recloser can be made to overcome the operational difficulties detailed above. The paper reviews some of the factors influencing the design, selection and application of circuit reclosers. The principles determining whether the main contacts of a recloser are to Â¿lock openÂ¿ or Â¿hold closedÂ¿ upon the completion of an operating sequence are discussed, and the co-ordination of reclosers with other reclosers and with fuses is described. The development of the use of automatic-reclosing features is also discussed in relation to operation in conjunction with automatic sectionalizers.