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The aim of this paper is to present the influence of electrode system parameters on electrical breakdown of gas (electrode effect) with the purpose to improve the gas-filled surge arresters (GFSAs) protective characteristics with the most optimal way. The influence of the electrode parameters on the pulse shape characteristics is examined. As variable parameters, the electrode material and the manner of electrode surface processing are used. The originally developed GFSA model with a composite electrode system enables a high degree of over-voltage protection without environmental contamination.