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The development of deregulation and demand for high-quality electrical energy has lead to a new requirement in different fields of power systems. In the protection field, this means that high sensitivity and fast operation during the fault are required while maltripping of relay protection is not acceptable. One case that may lead to a maltrip of the high-sensitive overcurrent relay is the starting current of the induction motor or inrush current of the transformer. This transient current has the potential to affect the correct operation of protection relays close to the component being switched. In the case of switching events, such transients must not lead to overcurrent relay operation; therefore, a reliable and secure relay response becomes a critical matter. Meanwhile, proper techniques must be used to prevent maltripping of such relays, due to transient currents in the network. In this paper, the optimal Bayes classifier is utilized to develop a method for discriminating the fault from nonfault events. The proposed method has been designed based on extracting the modal parameters of the current waveform using the Prony method. By feeding the fundamental frequency damping and ratio of the 2nd harmonic amplitude over the fundamental harmonic amplitude to the classifier, the fault case is discriminated from the switching case. The suitable performance of this algorithm is demonstrated by simulation of different faults and switching conditions on a power system using PSCAD/EMTDC software.