Closed-ring operation of distribution grids has several advantages over the more commonly used open-ring distribution grid topology. Power flows will naturally balance out between the feeders of a (typically) ring shaped medium voltage distribution grid. This leads to reduced peak loading of components, and therefore reduced grid losses. As such, investments in grid reinforcement can be postponed or avoided, while operational costs can be reduced. The negative side-effect of closed-ring operation, reduced reliability of supply, can be (largely) mitigated by implementing distribution automation. This paper discusses and analyses the potential grid loss reduction of closed-ring operation, the effects on reliability and possible mitigations and finally field-test results to validate the theoretical analysis.