A step-down AC/AC converter for use in an electric distribution system includes at least one chopper circuit for each one of a plurality of phases of the AC power, each chopper circuit including a four-quadrant switch coupled in series between primary and secondary sides of the chopper circuit and a current-bidirectional two-quadrant switch coupled between the secondary side of the chopper circuit and a common node. Each current-bidirectional two-quadrant switch is oriented in the same direction, with respect to the secondary side of the corresponding chopper circuit and the common node. The converter further includes a control circuit configured to pulse-width-modulate control inputs of the switches, to convert a first multiphase AC voltage at the primary sides of the chopper circuits to a second multiphase AC voltage at the secondary sides of the chopper circuits, the second multiphase AC voltage being lower in voltage than the first multiphase AC voltage.
 This invention was made with Government support under ARPA-E Cooperative Agreement DE-AR0000141 awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE). The Government has certain rights in this invention.