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An investigation of power frequency (50 Hz) surface partial discharges in dry air, using 21r/3 Rogowski profile electrodes in the low pressure range of 0.067 to 91.333 kPa, shows that for the discharges occurring symmetrically around the electrodes and just outside the uniform field region, the breakdown voltages are 20 to 30% lower than those accounted for by the usual Paschen values. Emphasis, therefore, has been given to modified values of breakdown voltages for any useful calculations. The effect of reduced pressure on inception voltage has been discussed and an attempt has been made to explain the difference between the observed and calculated values on the basis of a pressure-dependent secondary ionization coefficient. It is shown that increasing the insulation thickness in a critical pressure range (0.067 to 0.400 kPa) does not allow any significant increase in the discharge free working stress of the insulation system. At higher pressures (>0.400 kPa) the increase in inception voltage with thickness and pressure follows an equation which is expected to hold for other insulating materials as well.